The Buddhist nationalist group formerly known as Ma Ba Tha once again struck a defiant tone this week, releasing a statement proclaiming: “No matter which names the association has adopted, no changes will be made in terms of the standpoint of the association.”
“Whether the Ma Ba Tha continues or ceases to exist depends entirely on the policies of the NLD government,” said Nandar Hla Myint.
The statement comes after a 23 May order by the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee for the group to cease using the Ma Ba Tha name and banner.
Advocates of interfaith harmony say a renaming of the hardline Buddhist nationalist group Ma Ba Tha, and plans to formally inject its ideology into Burma’s political sphere, will do little to staunch — and may even exacerbate — the underlying religious intolerance that the organisation has been accused of fomenting.
The State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee has announced a mid-July deadline that, if enforced, would effectively put an end to the public profile of the Buddhist nationalist group Ma Ba Tha.
“If the Sangha do not respond to us, we will cast the petition across the whole of Rangoon. And if that doesn’t work, we’ll take our campaign to Mandalay and other areas.”