by Dr. Abid Bahar
Who is Wirathu? Wirathu is a Burmese monk based in Mandalay.. Hannah Beech of the Time magazine met him and describes:'His face as still and serene as a statue's, the Buddhist monk who has taken the title "the Burmese bin Laden" begins his sermon. Hundreds of worshipers sit before him, palms pressed together, sweat trickling silently down their sticky backs. On cue, the crowd chants with the man in burgundy robes, the mantras drifting through the sultry air of a temple in Mandalay, Burma's second biggest city after Rangoon. It seems a peaceful scene, but Wirathu's message crackles with hate. "Now is not the time for calm," the 46-year-old monk intones, as he spends 90 minutes describing the many ways in which he detests the minority Muslims in this Buddhist-majority land. "Now is the time to rise up, to make your blood boil."http://freedomnewsgroup.com/2013/06/22/the-face-of-buddhist-terror/#comment-13273
.Is Wirathu an educated monk? Report published in the Time magazine shows: Wirathu is "uneducated outlier with little doctrinal basis for his bigotry, one of eight children who ended up in a monastery because his parents wanted one less mouth to feed."http://freedomnewsgroup.com/2013/06/22/the-face-of-buddhist-terror/#comment-13273
True, we shouldn't blame him for his poverty and the lack of education due to the prevailing circumstances in his life, but his illiteracy is no excuse for spreading extremism to commit genocide in Burma. By using fictions stories about minorities especially against Muslims he became so notorious that the July edition of the TIME magazine called him "the face of Buddhist terror." What are the fictions he uses to call his followers to action against the Muslim minority?
FICTION#1: Among the Burman — ethnic group, "as well as across Buddhist parts of Asia, there's a vague sense that their religion is under siege, that Islam has already conquered Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Afghanistan — all these formerly Buddhist lands — and that other dominoes could fall.".http://freedomnewsgroup.com/2013/06/22/the-face-of-buddhist-terror/#comment-13273. Wirathu takes advantage of this fiction to stir emotion among Burmese citizens. But as opposed to the fiction what are the facts about it?
Muslim lands stopped expanding immediately after colonial rule set in place. Muslim rulers first lost Spain and Portugal. Muslims began to lose lands during the entire period of colonial and post colonial period. Example abounds: Southern part of Thailand was a Muslim Sultanate but with Portuguese help it became part of Thailand. Cambodia's recent genocide took the life of mostly the Malayan Champa people. East Timur was separated from Indonesia. China occupied the former Ottoman ruled central Asian Kasgor and other adjacent regions. Soviet Russia even conquered the entire central Asian countries. There is christian missionary activities going on in almost every Muslim country converting the consenting Muslims.
Muslims also lost the Moghul India. After the British occupied India from the Muslim Moghuls, when it left it handed most of it to the Hindu rulers of India. Muslims also lost Ottoman occupied Greece and Eastern Europe,and in the Middle East lost Palestine and Lebanon. In Africa it recently lost the Southern part of Sudan.
Coming back to the Burmese scenerio, we see due to continuous Burmese Invasions of Arakan, there has been non Bengali settlements in Chittagong and Chittagong Hill Tracts. Most Rohingyas and tribes of Bangladesh are from Arakanese background.The continued oppressive nature of military rule led to the influx of minorities to Bangladesh and to Thailand.
Fact: Here he is comparing apple with orange. Compared to Islam, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Santu, and Jaine religion are localized religion. Islam is comparable only to Christianity. Despite the former's decline, began over a century ago, it still spread around the world now with more than a billion following. Therefore, population wise, Buddhism is not comparable to Islam.
FICTION#3: Burmese Buddhists are non violent people.Wirathu says:"You can be full of kindness and love, but you cannot sleep next to a mad dog," He said of the country's Muslims, whom he called "the enemy." He told the New York Times, "I am proud to be called a radical Buddhist."
FACT: Burmese Buddhism is a Sri Lankan Theraveda variety. In this type, in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos it shows the potential of causing genocide. Truly, Wirathu with his illiteracy and his use of prejudices, is part of the 696 Nazi movement the "face of Buddhist terror in Burma, committing genocide"
FACT: Burmese Muslims have been almost wiped out after the 1962 expulsion of the nonburmese by the military strongman, Ne Win. The expulsion still continues. Now Muslims are only 4% of the Burmese population. How is it possible by 4% population is capable to occupy Burma when Burma has its alert monks and even xenophobic Burmese army against the non burman minorities. The fact is, Muslim population including the other minority population of Burma has been declining due to Burma's Buddhist nationalist policy.
FACT: History shows, this has been a common excuse for a long time. On the other hand, Burmese army routinely rape, Chin, Kachine and Rohingya women and kill their husbands. Rohingya husbands die either in the sea or are killed by the Burmese army. Those still in Burma are even restricted to move from one village to other and marriage is restricted to them without government permission.
(Dead Rohingya Muslim mother and her children) https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=146850522174707&set=a.141673212692438.1073741832.100005492797241&type=1&theater
FACT: The attending doctor of the Rakhine women killed testified that she was not raped. The medical report wasn't published. The Rakhine Court quickly sentenced some Rohingya man including a Rakhine teenager to death. It seems that like all the other anti Muslim attacks in Burma, these pretexts for bigger tragedies were doctored by the Buddhist extremists.
FACT: Due to Burma's long military rule with divide and rule policy and xenophobia, people have been demoted to widespread illiteracy. Under the circumstances, people like Wirathu find it convenient to operate feeding prejudices about minorities. In the process, it uses Buddhism to cover up its crimes against humanity. It also uses Buddhism to defend its selfrightous behavior that its people are kind and forgiving.
Is Wirathu a racist? Yes of course, he uses prejudices, racial hatred and turns the Burma and its citizens into " Us(Buddhist) vs them (Muslim). relationship. Wirathu's "anti Muslim 969 movement conducting business boycott campaign against Myanmar Muslims which is very much resembled to Nazi anti Jewish business boycott. 969 groups are allegedly involved in recent anti Muslim violence across the country." http://m-mediagroup.com/en/archives/7972
Due to Burma's long military rule,with campaign against its minorities, the concept of citizenship rights has not been properly understood by most Burmese people. What Burma needs human rights education and the separate of religion from government.. In the lack of it, we regularly see Burmese police, security personnel, the NASAKKA and even the fire brigades instead of protecting its citizens, protects only Buddhist violator of rights. That is why there is the ongoing Muslim genocide in Burma. If the present trend is not reversed, Burma will continue to live in the past.
Hannah Beech, When Buddhists Go Bad