The Pope didn't say 'Rohingya.' But Myanmar heard him loud and clear


National Post, 29 November 2017

It is imperative that those who can be heard speak on behalf of those who cannot, and that we speak of religious liberty for others, not just ourselves

The Rohingya persecution in Myanmar (Burma) is a complex religious liberty issue that challenges the way we often think in Canada.

Myanmar has a Buddhist majority. The Rohingya are a minority Muslim population in Rakhine, a western state in Myanmar bordering Bangladesh. For generations the Rohingya have been treated as a foreign element within Myanmar; even to mention their name and acknowledge their existence is considered provocative. In recent months, Myanmar’s military has been driving the Rohingya out, with more than 600,000 refugees now in Bangladesh. It is almost the definition of wretched affliction to seek refuge in Bangladesh, itself a country of massive destitution.

Worldwide condemnation has rained down on Myanmar for this brutal religious persecution and ethnic expulsion. That is straightforward. The rest is complicated.

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