YANGON, Myanmar – Myanmar and the United States appear to have agreed to disagree on what to call the Southeast Asian nation's beleaguered Muslim minority that Washington and most of the world know as Rohingya.
Many Buddhists inside Myanmar prefer to call them "Bengalis," arguing that the 1 million or so members of the minority are mostly illegal immigrants and not a native ethnic group.
U.S. Ambassador Scot Marciel explained Tuesday that normal official U.S. practice is to call communities by the name they themselves prefer.
Myanmar foreign ministry official Aye Aye Soe acknowledged his office had asked Marciel not to use the term "Rohingya." He said Marciel has the right to call the minority whatever he likes, but calling them Rohingya could enflame communal tensions.