The Rohingya refugee crisis

Religious identity as a source of expulsion, hospitality, and solidarity

Authored by: M Ala Uddin

The Routledge Handbook of Religion and Cities

Print publication date:  December  2020
Online publication date:  December  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367367121
eBook ISBN: 9780429351181
Adobe ISBN:


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In the wake of the recent global refugee crises, religion has garnered serious attention by scholars as well as policy makers—in the making and resolution of the crises. Given the relative absence of comprehensive study on the problem, this paper offers a critical and constructive account on the roles of religion in the Rohingya refugee crisis—both in the creation and in the response to the problem. Sixty Rohingya refugee life stories were collected and analyzed in Cox’s Bazar and Chittagong cities, Bangladesh, home to the largest population of Rohingya refugees. These narratives provide rich data regarding the centrality of faith to the construction of Rohingya identity, home, and future in the wake of political violence and displacement. For these refugees, the description of the forced migration that results from uprooting is replaced by an alternative home that transcends time and space. After analyzing the underlying factors that forced the Rohingya to flee from Myanmar to Bangladesh, I suggest that religious dissimilarity can be considered a leading cause of persecution in Myanmar, while religious similarity encouraged their flight to Bangladesh.

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