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Rakhine conflict could ignite regional religious tensions

Myanmar's harsh crackdown on Rohingya population draws extreme international responses

| Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos

The resurgence of violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state has opened a dangerous fissure in Southeast Asia that threatens to divide the two most important religious faiths in the region: Buddhism and Islam. Never in modern times have tensions been so high between faiths that have coexisted peacefully in this region for centuries. If the trend continues, it could become a more dangerous threat to social stability than that posed by Islamic State fighters returning from the Middle East.

"There is the prospect of an alarming divide that could derail ASEAN," commented Surin Pitsuwan, the former Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

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