A new Buddhist-based campaign has been initiated in Rangoon to call into question the actions of Wirathu, an outspoken Burmese nationalist monk.
“We submitted a petition to the State Sangha Mahanayaka Committee, asking them to judge whether U Wirathu’s actions are in fact dharma, the teachings of the Buddha, or adharma, which is the opposite,” said one of the organisers of the new campaign. “However, we did not get any response. Now we are taking the matter further by conducting another signature campaign in Rangoon.”
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the campaign organiser said, “A petition signed by many residents in South Dagon was submitted to the Sangha Committee, but we didn’t get a response. That’s why we have increased our campaign.
“We, Buddhists and other citizens of Myanmar [Burma], are signing this petition which calls for the Sangha to judge whether U Wirathu’s actions are in accordance with the teachings of Lord Buddha.”
Monk Wirathu is widely known across Burma for his fiery rhetoric and anti-Muslim sermons.
“If the Sangha do not respond to us, we will cast the petition across the whole of Rangoon,” said Myat Kyaw, an executive member of the Committee Against Adharma. “And if that doesn’t work, we’ll take our campaign to Mandalay and other areas.”
He said that during a signature campaign in South Okkalapa township on Sunday, no less than 800 people signed the petition.
On 20 May, several monks related to the Saffron Revolution marches of 2007 held a meeting at which they called for the Ministry of Home Affairs to take legal action against extreme Buddhist nationalists.