Burmese Muslims and Identity Crisis.

By coincidence, I have a chance to discuss with a nice Dutch Muslim lady, about Islam from her perspective. She has reverted into Islam through marriage to a Syrian expatriate, whom she met in Holland last 15 years ago.

She said ” Initially, I did not believe him (about his faith), so I started doing research by myself. Finally I have found that Islam is the true religion of God among all monotheist religions, and  also found  it so simple and easy to implement into our daily lives”. She added, some of the migrants who are poor, and uneducated gave bad impression and image of Islam, in the west.

She blamed person like ,Geert Wilder, who is an extreme Right wing politician, took advantage of the weakness of Muslim society in Europe, to instill “Islamophobia” that is to sow the hatred towards ordinary European Muslims” .

She looks elegant with Hijab. As our conversation went on, I realized that she has deep understanding of Islam, probably due to her effort to understand the religion, not just for the sake of marriage. The Dutch lady” analyzed the situation of Migrant Muslims in Europe very well. They seems to have Identity Crisis .

This is the period that Burmese Muslims suffer discrimination back home as well as in abroad.

Then I remember a post that I  wrote three years ago, and decided to re post again to share with brothers and sisters  for the purpose of soul-searching.


Kyaw Kyaw Oo

Burmese Muslims and Identity Crisis.

December 1, 2007 · 1 Comment · Edit This


(This is Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s English Trnaslation of Holy Quran, All of us as Non Arabic speaking people should have a copy to read at your home)

I was born in Burma as a Muslim from the Burmese Muslim parents. Almost all of my ancestors were Burmese except for one of my great Grand fathers , who was said to be from Yemen  or Saudi Arabia.

( This is just merely a fact only, as all mankind are created equal by Allah SWT, and there is no race or tribe superior to one another, according to Islamic teaching.)

Islam professed equality in human being. So as a Muslim I do not have problem with being a Burmese Muslim, means I am a Burmese who believe in Islam, the True Religion for the mankind.

But the problem of Identity in my opinion is started from the Muslims living in Burma. Why? when I was young I thought Muslim community in Burma as uneducated, poor, inferior, some of them are rich but arrogant society. That was the reason for me to stay away from them, without understanding the true teaching of Islam. I was non practicing Muslim for thirty over years. Nobody invited me in Burma for proper intellectual way of discussion.

So, even as a Burmese who was born as a Muslim find difficult to understand the Burmese Muslims in Burma, how about Non Muslim, Buddhists view towards us in Burma.?

Who are responsible? I think we as Burmese Muslims are responsible for what we are in Burmese Muslim society today. Of course current moment is a difficult period, as Military Junta even killed and tortured Buddhist monks and sealed the Monastery in Burma, community as a whole should be more careful at the same time support the fight against the Biggest Evil (Pharoah) of Burma.

We could always cry foul to Burmese Military Government for creating anti Muslim discriminative policy and riots to divert the attention in last few decades. What were we doing for the good sake of Muslim community in Burma?

There were few outspoken Muslim leaders for the Burmese Muslim community. However, these people were attacked by the so called Ulama, who brought in “West Asian” ( India, Pakistan, Bangladesh) culture to installed as Burmese Muslim Culture for several decades.That is the reason why most of the Non Muslims think that all Muslims in Burma are Indians.  Muslims of Indian descendants are a majority in Burma, but there are Burmese Muslim, Karen Muslims, Burmese Chinese Muslims,….and so many other ethnic minorities who believe in Islam.
Thanks to the IT age, where people can read and learn more about Islam . There are groups of new generation of Burmese Muslims, who are ready to explain the Burmese Muslim about faith (Iman) and practice, and being a citizen of a country, and responsibility as a Muslim and as a Burmese .

In short, we have obligations as Muslim for what our Creator asked us to do, and as a person’s obligation to the Country and the society.

Islamic teaching is very clear about such obligations. But we must know how to get these guideline. All these guide lines are in the book called Holy Quran, a divine revelation and a guide-book for all of us what to do and not to do.

Also we need the Muslim leaders who are going to explain the questions of those who are unable to read or understand the teaching.

Then only we, Muslims of Burma will be doing more than rituals to the dynamic society according to the teaching of the Creator and also become a well-respected society by others in Burma.


Kyaw Kyaw Oo


2 thoughts on “Burmese Muslims and Identity Crisis.

  1. kyawkyawoo says:

    Ma May Lay Nyo,
    Thanks again for reading my post. I wish you to contribute your thoughts about Islam, and If you have already done it, pls let me know the link.

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