Myanmar Bans Sermons of Anti-Muslim Monk

Ashin WirathuAshin Wirathu

A firebrand monk notorious for anti-Muslim hate speech has been banned from giving sermons across Myanmar for one year, according to officials Saturday.

The State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, which oversees and regulates the Buddhist clergy in Myanmar, said in a statement that Ashin Wirathu was repeatedly delivering hate speech against religions to cause communal strife and hinder efforts to uphold the rule of law, as well as taking sides with political parties to inflame tensions, Anadolu Agency reported.

Aung San Win, a senior official at the ministry of religious affairs and culture, said the ban was decided on Thursday at a meeting of the committee, better known as Ma Ha Na in its Myanmar acronym.

“The one-year ban starts on Friday,” he said by phone on Saturday.

According to the statement, Wirathu may face legal action for any breach of the order.

The move came after Wirathu gave a sermon on Wednesday in a small town of Maubin in the Ayeyawaddy division despite a ban by the regional government.

Wirathu is one of the most vociferous members of the Association for the Protection of Race and Religion that has been seen as deliberately stoking the flames of religious hatred against the country’s Muslim minority.

The monk had hailed four men accused of orchestrating the murder of Ko Ni— a legal advisor to ruling party National League for Democracy—for “defending race and religion”.

Ko Ni, 65, was shot in the head at Yangon International Airport on January 29 as he returned from a visit to Indonesia as part of a Myanmar delegation of Muslim leaders and government officials. A taxi driver was also shot dead in the attack.


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