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The "Burmese Bin Laden" Spreads Hate in the New Burma


His sweet and innocent-looking face dominates the most recent cover of Time magazine. He calls himself the “Burmese Bin Laden.” He warns his fellow Burmese that “crude and savage” Muslims are everywhere, out to get innocent Buddhists, to rape their daughters, to slaughter them. “We are being raped in every town, being sexually harassed in every town, being ganged up on and bullied in every town.” His sermons are recorded on DVDs and heard by thousands across the country.

Ashin Wirathu’s hate-filled views on Muslims in part contributed to violence that has swept Burma since its political reforms released pent-up social tension. Several times over the past year sword-wielding Buddhists rampaged through Muslim neighborhoods, burning and killing. Hundreds have been killed, thousands more displaced. To this day many remain in squalid refugee camps, denied healthcare and basic rights.

“What began last year on the fringes of Burmese society has grown into a nationwide movement,” reports Thomas Fuller for the New York Times. Even so, the response from the Burmese authorities, including celebrated human rights activist Aung San Suu Kyi, has been tame, to say the least. The Burmese police are accused of doing nothing or even aiding the mobs of killers.

The dark side of Burma’s opening must serve as a sobering reminder to democracy activists in the west who champion “Democracy!” without considering the side effects. Burma’s political reforms should rightly be celebrated, but mobs of killers inspired by the “Burmese Bin Laden” are a product of those reforms.

[Image of destruction of Muslim neighborhoods courtesy of Human Rights Watch]

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  • Corlyss

    Amusing to see how many Boomers fled their parents’ religion to embrace the allegedly non-violent, peace-loving, life of harmlessness they thought Buddhism was. Apparently Buddhism has a lot of people just filthy with human nature.

  • Hex

    Considering what happens to anyone unlucky enough to be a non-Muslim (or even the wrong kind of Muslim) in any majority-Muslim state whatsoever, no matter how secular, the idea of sending such populations back to their fellow Islamic states before they grow too large has considerable merit. Certainly a better idea than sticking your head in the stand and squawking endlessly about how peaceful the world’s most bloody religion supposedly is, like our “leaders”.

    • bpuharic

      I happened to have spent a week in Malaysia, a moderate Muslim country, in Penang. There’s a large Indian and Chinese population there…persecuted by the Muslim majority. Islam is, currently, incapable of defending human rights…of course, no religion can.

      • avery12

        Christianity can, has and does.

        • bpuharic

          What were William Penn and Roger Williams famous for?

          Oh yeah…religious freedom from Christian persecution.

          As the late Rabbi and historian Arthur Hertzberg once stated ‘no Christian govt in history ever protected the civil rights of Jews’

          • Tom

            And yet…they were both Christians. Odd, isn’t it?

  • lovetruth

    He is not a terrroist like binladin.he don’t call himself like that too.Time
    Magazine article is just a lie.He just love the country and buddism.I am not a fan of him.
    But time’ article is so rude and writer don’t understand the situation very well.shame on her that she used her intellect in wrong direction.what a waste.

  • ljgude

    And the Muslims in Burma are not spreading hate too WRM?I have read that there have indeed been rapes by Muslims provoking this situation, but in any case I find it hard to believe that the Muslims in Burma have been unlike many Muslims elsewhere – intolerant and ready to use violence. i suspect strongly what we are seeing here is a non Muslim population that, unlike the West, is willing to defend itself in exactly the way it is being attacked.

  • ChuckFinley

    With all the troubles in the world, please forgive me if I don’t get too worked up about people treating Muslims the way Muslims treat everybody else.

  • USNK2

    Burna thinks the Rohyinga muslims are from Bengal, and thus Bangladeshi ‘citizens’.
    Another unresolved legacy of the former British Empire, when all of Burma was part of India.

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