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Obama and Myanmar (Burma): 4 points about conflict there

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3. Religious stereotypes don’t match

Stereotypical views of religion (especially Islam) may fit poorly with real-world facts. The political scientist Samuel Huntington famously wrote that Islam has “bloody borders.” Many pundits and ideologues have echoed this sentiment in legislatures and on television screens. The charge is that Islam, by its very nature, is somehow more violent and more expansionist than other faiths.

Few anthropologists of religion would support such a claim. The plight of the Rohingyas is but one counterexample: In this case, the victims of the violence are overwhelmingly Muslim, and the perpetrators overwhelmingly subscribe to a faith (Buddhism) that holds nonviolence to be a cardinal virtue.

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