Extremist Monks Hold Talks Throughout Strife-Torn Arakan State

Myanmar, extremism, inter-communal violence, Buddhism, Islam, 969, Wirathu, Rohingya

Radical monk Myanan Sayadaw U Thaddhamma at his monastery in Moulmein. (Photo – JPaing / The Irrawaddy)

RANGOON — Leading Buddhist monks of the nationalist 969 movement said they have been holding sermons in several townships in northern Arakan State, which has been wracked by bloody violence between Arakanese Buddhists and the Rohingya Muslim minority.

The activities raise concerns that the monks, who have been accused spreading hate speech against Islam, will inflame tensions and cause new outbreaks of anti-Muslim violence in the volatile state.

Myanan Sayadaw U Thaddhamma said he and six monks from the Mon State capital Moulmein arrived in Arakan State in mid-December and have since visited Arakanese Buddhist communities to give Dhamma sermons—talks that are supposed to explain Buddhist teachings.

“The main intention of our talks is that we want to share a religious experience with our Buddhist people. We also wanted to show our sympathy to the people who are suffering and we will tell them that the [Burmese] heartland people did not abandon them,” U Thaddhamma told The Irrawaddy in a phone call.

“We recognize that Rakhine [Arakan] people and monks protected their state and religion very well. This is why we went to go and meet people from town to town,” he said. U Thaddhama claimed that Arakan State, on Burma’s border with Muslim-majority Bangladesh, was the “Western Gate” that is being “protected” by Arakanese Buddhists.

U Thaddhamma said his monks had visited Thandwe and Myebon townships and were currently holding three days of talks in Sittwe, adding that they also planned to visit Buddhist communities in the mostly Muslim townships of Buthidaung and Maungdaw.

The 969 movement, led by the Mandalay-based monk U Wirathu, has become extremely controversial in the past year after it began a nationwide campaign that claims that Burma’s Muslim are threatening the Buddhist majority.

The monks, who are deeply revered in Burma, have called on Buddhists to shun Muslim communities and buy only goods from Buddhist-owned shops. The sermons are considered hate speech and have been linked to outbreaks of Buddhist mob violence against Muslim communities throughout Burma.

Since 2012, such violence has left more than 200 people dead and displaced about 150,000 people, most of them Muslim. Northern Arakan State has been the worst-affected after long-standing tensions between Arakanese Buddhists and the Rohingya Muslim minority exploded and mob attacks led to the death of 192 people in June and October last year.

The most recent outbreak of deadly inter-communal violence occurred in Thandwe Township in October and the Buddist mob attacks there were preceded by sermons organized by the 969 movement.

U Thaddhamma denied the movement’s activities in the region would contribute to rising tensions, adding that local authorities had allowed the monks to travel and spread their message.

“We did not hold talks to create any problem,” he said, before claiming that the Muslims had initiated the inter-communal violence in Burma in the past year. “They were first people who started the violence. Then, when they were suffered, they blamed our 969 monks,” he said.

Arakan State spokesperson Win Myaing said the authorities saw no problem with the 969 events planned in their volatile region. “It is a normal Dhamma talk. The people here do it yearly. There will be no problem because they did not hold talks in the Muslim community,” he said.

Tens of thousands of displaced Rohingyas languish in poorly-run camps and tensions between the communities in Arakan State remain high. The central government and state authorities have been accused of siding with the Buddhist communities in the conflict and are said to have done little to promote inter-communal harmony and dialogue.

The government denies the roughly 800,000 Rohingyas citizenship and claims that the minority in northern Arakan are “Bengalis” who entered the country illegally from neighboring Bangladesh.

Aung Win, a Rohingya human rights activist and community leader in Sittwe, said he did not oppose the holding of Buddhist ceremonies, but expressed concern over the fact that 969 monks were spreading their message throughout the strife-torn state.

“They have the right to hold talks. But, it is better not to insult the other religion when they are speaking,” he said. “These monks speak about how [Buddhists] should not accept Bengali people and that Islam is organizing a migration of Muslims into Arakan State.”

“We mostly need interfaith dialogue here. This is very important. But, I do not see it,” Aung Win said.

15 Responses to Extremist Monks Hold Talks Throughout Strife-Torn Arakan State

  1. We human can worship own shrines or religions without harming any other living beings. Who can fulfill human’s desires? as long as we have been insulting or bombing other,the retaliation won’t stop itself. Even only one religion remain in the world, the human never can get satisfaction
    and anyway we need to educate openly and learn the Realities in free life.

    • Is there any law (international/national) that deprived human being from observing/practising his religion of his choice? Are Rahingyans not human being? UN should take action by sactioning Myammar or logging the genocide against seu kyi before International Court

  2. Hello Irrawaddy,

    Please don’t use the word EXTREMIST.

    They are telling the truth and looking after A Bi Dhama.

    Remember:U Wisara and U Oattama

  3. There is no 969 in Buddhism. Why authority allow them to use this three figures. State Sanga Council had been notified that ” there is no such word ” in Buddhism. Therefore why not the authority following the State Sanga Council order, that is a question.

    If the government can not provide the safety of the peoples within the country, that government should not stay in power, so Arakan State should directly by presidential Office.

  4. The Monks should help!
    Who killed Ten Muslim, Travelling By Bus, Lynched and Killed, In Arakan…
    Thein Sein is Shy in Exposing The Buddhist Lynchers and Killers
    Suu Kyi Aris is Mute on Matters of Muslim Killing
    What is More Meritorious in Killing or Saving Live in Buddhism…
    Rasputin was behind The King of Russia
    Viratu The Monk is doing Thein Sein Job ANTI MUSLIM!

  5. “We recognize that Rakhine [Arakan] people and monks protected their state and religion very well. This is why we went to go and meet people from town to town,” he said. U Thaddhama claimed that Arakan State, on Burma’s border with Muslim-majority Bangladesh, was the “Western Gate” that is being “protected” by Arakanese Buddhists.

    If you read the above, you all will realise that idiot thaddhama is fear of invasion of Western and Muslim into Burma. Because idiot thaddhama is low educated,low confident in Buddhism in Buddhist dominant country, Burma and lack of understanding of freedom of religious belief. There is many non-extremist Buddhist monks in Arakanese state and more educated and qualified Arakanese monks who know how to act as a good model Buddhist monks in Arakan state. Allowing killer or extremist monks to Arakan state is one of the dirty political motivations of USDP for their gaining vote in the aspect of nationalism, Buddhinization, sovereignty, griping of 2008 nargic constitution and supporting of notorious Ne win immigration law.

  6. What is Buddhinization, after all? Is it a word coined to crustalize the idea of Islamization? If so, how many muslims have been Buddhinized in the last three hundred years in Burma? There is every reason to believe in the idea of Islamization of Rakhine state. Please look at the situation there, the genocide committed upon the Buddhist population there by illegal bengali muslims who after friday prayers (Jumma prayers) equipped themselves in handmade bombs and heavy machetes and swords besides petrochemicals came out from Maungday Jam-e-mosque and started attacking alls in a frenzy. What attack these Buddhists commit against them? Their attacks were later followed and copied in other Rakhine cities, which later spread across Burma. If Burma cannot nip these brute forces of Islamic militancy, there will be no time when an allout attack to cleasnse Burma from Buddhists will come up. OIC has already been attacking Burma with words and tons of money.

  7. We lost peace of Arakan because we think stupid. We Rakhine,Baali,Kaman,Rohaingya are brothers. Pls. Understand it

  8. George Than Setkyar Heine

    “They have the right to hold talks. But, it is better not to insult the other religion when they are speaking,” he said. “These monks speak about how [Buddhists] should not accept Bengali people and that Islam is organizing a migration of Muslims into Arakan State.”
    Why should Buddhists (Burma) ACCEPT the BANGALIS (Muslims) from Bangladesh as their BRETHREN and FELLOW CITIZENS man?
    Rohingyas (Muslims from Bangladesh) are NO NATIVES of BURMA as well, idiot!
    Have you ever heard of Buddhists converting other non-Buddhist people into Buddhists via marriage, money or whatever, in Burma or in alien lands even?
    I haven’t of course!
    BUDDHISM ITSELF is NON-AGGRESSIVE in both NATURE and PRACTICE since day one (Buddha’s days) UNTIL TODAY.
    You DON’T SEE Buddhists or Buddhist monks TEACHING/PREACHING PEOPLE to CONVERT to BUDDHISM (BUDDHISTS) in Burma even much less in foreign lands as well.
    Many even the WESTERNERS CONVERTED to BUDDHISM (Buddhists) ON THEIR OWN VOLITION/BELIEF ONLY, as evidenced on many occasions in Burma and foreign lands as well.
    However, females in Burma are/were converted to ISLAM/MUSLIM by Muslims after COERCION by all means at their disposal and FORCED into MARRIAGES mainly. MONEY is the most COMMON MEDIA/INSTRUMENT USED in getting the Burmese women MARRY the MUSLIMS in the first place.
    Of course POVERTY RUNNING RAMPANT in BURMA due to AGES OLD POLITICAL INSTABILITY leading to ECONOMIC WOES in the country – NO THANKS to SUCCESSIVE MILITARY DICTATORSHIP RULES – is the ROOT CAUSE of ALL CALAMITIES – Islam taking root and Muslims invading the country like today as well – in Burma to be honest as well.
    Specifically, the Muslims whether home grown or ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS from neighboring BANGLADESH are LOADED with MONEY today, no thanks to the likes of OIC and other Muslim states PUMPING MONEY and MUSLIMS into the country, instrumental for the PURPOSE – ISLAMIZATION of ARAKAN STATE – in the first place and the COUNTRY (Burma) WISE/WIDE as well ultimately. Don’t argue Muslims.
    Hence, it is UNDERSTANDABLE and RELEVANT as well, the Buddhist monks and Buddhists in Burma are TAKING STEPS in their OWN WAY and at their DISCRETION as well to PROTECT THEIR RELIGION (BUDDHISM) and COUNTRY (BURMA) AGAINST ISLAMIC EXPANSION/INVASION into THEIR CULTURE and COUNTRY of course.
    And the government/ruling body at Naypyidaw has the OBLIGATION and BOUNDED DUTY as well to PROTECT – via the LAWS not to mention LEGAL MEANS and RIGHTS – as well the BUDDHIST MONKS and PEOPLE (Buddhists mainly and other non-Buddhists as well) against the ongoing and prevailing ISLAMIC ONSLAUGHT on BURMA as evidenced by the INVASION of ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS/MUSLIMS from neighboring BANGLADESH HELPED or COLLABORATED by the like of OIC PUSHING FOR BURMESE CITIZENSHIP for the so-called ROHINGYAS (illegal immigrants from Bangladesh) INVADING and CALLING the ARAKAN STATE and Burma as well THEIR HOME today.
    Hence, DISCRETION IS THE BEST BET and STUPIDITY WILL SIMPLY SCUTTLE the SHIP (PEACE) for the ALIENS (illegal immigrants from Bangladesh) in case the MUSLIMS from Bangladesh FORCE their ISSUE (ISLAMIZATION of ARAKAN/BURMA) in the Buddhist country like Burma lest they forget.
    YOU DON’T FIND/HAVE THIS KIND of ISSUE (Buddhists pushing for converting locals to Buddhism in alien lands) in FOREIGN LANDS specifically in ISLAMIC COUNTRIES/STATES mainly LIKE the so-called ROHINGYAS (Muslims) CONVERTING the LOCALS (poor Arakanese females and others) VIA FLOODING/INVADING THEIR LAND (Arakan State) from next door Bangladesh happening like in Burma today, don’t argue man!
    Of course the MUSLIMS have the RIGHT to PRACTICE their RELIGION in BURMA.
    However, ATTEMPTING to EXPAND or FORCE their RELIGION (ISLAM) on the LOCALS in ANY WAY/FORM and OBTAIN HELP (money and others) from ISLAMIC COUNTRIES (OIC) while SNEAKING into ARAKAN STATE/BURMA on the part of the ROHINGYAS (Muslims) WOULD FACE CERTAIN CONSEQUENCES relevant to and in line with the LAWS of the LAND (Burma) and as deemed as ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS only as well, lest the so-called Rohingyas forget of course.

    “We mostly need interfaith dialogue here. This is very important. But, I do not see it,” Aung Win said.

  9. Making Muslims from Rakine as warriors who are portrayed and blamed as invading Rakhine, is diverting people minds from Rakhine extremists secret agenda. Do Muslims in Rakhine have arm group? No not at all. But what about Rakhines . They have arm group ( ALP ) with significant number of members. What is the motive and aim of this arm group.? Is it to safe guard the western border. No. They want their land back from Bama. Muslims from Rakhine ( Arkan ) state are now between two sharps horns. Rakhines want them to be kicked out, then they will fight Bama. They afraid Muslims support for Bama. Same Burmese Govt. afraid Rakhine and Muslims unity. Now Muslims are in concentration camps in Rakhine and still want to show outside world that they are the trouble makers. When western people visit Muslims , they feel sympathy for them by witnessing inhuman treatments from Govt and local racists Rakhine. These westerners are blamed as bias. For Muslims to gather more than 5 people is crime for the offence against 144 act. But these monks gathering will have no problem. The truth will come out very clearly one day and could not be hidden for long time.

  10. The Buddhist spilled first blood of TEN Muslim.
    Travelling in Arakan by Bus that started This Carnage etc:
    Where are The Criminals that
    Lynched and Killed the Ten Muslim TRAVELLER

    nb: Lot of ILLEGAL Buddhist are
    in Malaysia, Thai Land, India,
    UK, Japan and USA

  11. Irrawaddy is creating mess in Burma using the word “Extremist” through its own media that has been supported finalcially by NGOs.

    The aim is to be popular in the west.

    Do you dare to publish this comment on your website?

  12. You Irrawaddy/ Aung Zaw!

    Stop referring to those ungrateful dogs as Rohingya. You know extremely well that this term was coined with politically motivated intention.

    Moreover, 969 or whatever they never speak about hatred – no Buddhists ever sanction killing any living beings.

    The monks simply tell the people to be united and beware of clandestine Islamzation schemes.

    You guys at Irrawaddy are biased and corrupt!

  13. Zaw Win is blind of both eyes given him by Allah! He sees ALP but fails to see rohingya.org, rohingya blogger, and RSO, ARNO, and Rohingya all. Who took away military engineers staff who were erecting border fences, killed them and posted the pictures in an islamic militant blogspot? Who killed a police officer in Ducheeratan? Who are the Bengalis arrested from time to time and regularly sent back to Bangladesh with endorsement of the Bangladesh consulate at Sittwe? There were Bengalis in Rakhine, and they are bona fide original Bengalis … and there are Bengali Muslim infiltrators who without any proper papers are stateless. Who made them stateless? Besides therer are Bengali Hindus and Baruas in Rakhine State … one famous Bangladeshi historian wrote a Bengali book titled ‘The Rohingya Bengali Hindus and Barua Buddhists of Arakan’ – here the historian in no munching of the words used the name Rohingya Bengali which means Arakanese Bengali. And Rohingya has always meant people from Rakhine State in standard Bengali … it has no religious or any other hint.

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