U Wirathu to Propose Interfaith Marriage Law Again at Monks’ Conference

U Wirathu teaches Dhamma lessons to young Buddhist monks at Masoeyein Monestry in Mandalay on June 22, 2013. (Photo: Zarni Mann / The Irrawaddy)

RANGOON — Ultra-nationalist monk U Wirathu said he will attend another conference of Buddhist monks in Rangoon on Thursday in order to garner support for a controversial draft law that would put restrictions on interfaith marriages in Burma.

The Mandalay-based monk told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday that he had been reworking his proposal and petitioning the public to support the bill.

“This final draft is much more balanced… We even have collected signatures from people. Lawmakers from Parliament will accept our final draft when they see the signatures from the people,” he claimed.

Earlier this month, on June 13-14, about 200 monks convened at a monastery on Rangoon’s outskirts to discuss the ongoing tensions between Burma’s Buddhist majority and its Muslim minority, which have claimed more than 200 lives during the past year.

At the time, U Wirathu sought support from the Sangha for the draft law, which would require any Buddhist woman seeking to marry a Muslim man to first gain permission from her parents and local government officials. It also requires any Muslim man who marries a Buddhist woman to convert to Buddhism.

The proposal created a firestorm of reactions and was criticized for violating basic human rights. Women’s groups have since announced that they would campaign against the draft law on interfaith marriage.

The monks who organized the conference quickly distanced themselves from the proposal on June 14, although they had held a joint press conference with U Wirathu a day earlier.

On Tuesday, the firebrand monk declined to discuss the criticism of his previous draft, adding, “Though after the release of our final draft at this [upcoming] conference, anyone can criticize it if it would still contain rights violations.”

U Wirathu claimed the latest draft was the solution for Burma’s sectarian tensions and would gain support from the approximately 500 monks that are expected to attend the conference.

“If we can ratify this law, there will be no more violence in our country. Buddhist majority people cannot provoke violence against religious minorities, and minority people cannot provoke violence against the majority,” he said.

U Wirathu leads the nationwide 969 campaign, which has been accused of stirring up the inter-communal tensions. It encourages Buddhists to shun Muslims and their businesses, and to only support fellow Buddhists’ shops.

The monk is currently at the center of a controversy over Time magazine Asia’s July cover, which featured a photo of the monk with the headline “The Face of Buddhist Terror”.

15 Responses to U Wirathu to Propose Interfaith Marriage Law Again at Monks’ Conference

  1. U Wirathu shows backbone, sticks to his principles and is basically right.
    His harshest criticisers should save their energy, using it better against the countless religious Islamic extremists who rock the boat, worldwide. But it is of course easier (and free of risk) to display courage against a single “scandalously behaving” Buddhistic monk than to a whole army of Islamic fanatics whose single members are worse than Wirathu, as they would not hesitate a bit killing their criticizers on the spot.
    A number of commentators in this discussion forum are proving their double standards or have not understood the essence of the whole problem at all.

  2. A devout Buddhist has a natural belief that a Buddhist perception of events could enlighten us on the issue of “Why It So Happens”, based on the theory of “Cause and Effect”. Hence:


    Translated into English: –

    -Through ‘IGNORANCE’, We Do Things Right Or Wrong, No Matter What !

    ‘IGNORANCE’ In Buddhism is interpreted as:-


    Maybe U Wirathu don’t know where he stands as he might be influenced by “MOHA”.

    And it is doubtful whether he is really preaching the above – in plain language, what Lord Buddha had taught as – The Law of ” Cause and Effect”

    Maybe he is too much influenced by this “MOHA”, he don’t really know what he is doing -“Causing the Effect” – as people get killed – The Worst Crime in Buddhism”

    U Wirathu should think very hard !

    May Lord Buddha bless you, U Wirathu !

  3. Who care what Wirathu is trying to do? That kind of Buddhist law will never affect Muslims and Christians. So, Buddhist women who fall in love with non-Buddhists will abandon Buddhism and their Buddhist relatives for good then. Even if Burmese Buddhists adopt Wirathu’s proposal, non-Buddhists’ life will never be affected. Let him propose what he wants and let the Burmese Buddhists adopt his proposal.

  4. What does U Wirathu know about love and marriage? My father was Christian and my mother was Muslim. They kept their faith and they got along better than some couples who follow Buddhist faith. I am Christian, married to a Burmese Buddhist. Hmmm… I should ask my husband to convert to Christianity. I am sure he would, just to bring peace and harmony to the family. I want to say just two words to U Wirathu – GET LOST!

  5. Ordnry1, you missed Wirathu’s point … conversion is someone’s own choice, and of course, right. He never preached against a Buddhist person’s conversion into any other religion, no. He just put examples of many orthodox muslims, forcing their spouses and relatives to adopt Islam … or any other religion including Buddhism. when a muslim man takes a nonmuslim wife, at first he tries to convert her into his own religion, then if he fails, his other relatives or members of the family continue nagging her to convert. In many instances, they use physical abuse to force them to convert. This use of force, either by a Muslim, a Buddhist, or a Christian, is not supported by any civilized society in the world except Islam. Even in such developed countries as the US, UK, Germany, France, there have been instances of use of force and intimidation. Just keep your eyes open and ears tuned to the newspapers there, you’ll know. So even if you say Wirathu to get lost, he will never get lost, because under democracy you have the same right to express your thoughts as Wirathu, or Rahim, or Richard, or I myself have. What Wirathu is preaching is his own idea, you may like it or not. And what you say in this magazine is totally yours. I may agree to yours or not. But you have your democratic rights. And since I honor it, you are also required to honor Wirathu’s. If not you are going for the old dictatorship.

  6. Mong Pru, this article stated that “U Wirathu sought support from the Sangha for the draft law, which would require any Buddhist woman seeking to marry a Muslim man to first gain permission from her parents (this is a given in Burmese society for any young woman marrying a person of any faith) and local government officials. It also requires any Muslim man who marries a Buddhist woman to convert to Buddhism.” I said, “GET LOST” to Wirathu because I believe that monkhood and politics don’t go together, just like the Army shouldn’t get involved with politics. But again, this is only my opinion. Wirathu can say whatever he wants. People who follow Buddha’s teachings know a genuine monk from a frivolous one.

  7. if a muslim guy marry buddist girl? how about a buddist guy marry a muslim/christian girl…will he be forced to convert into his wifes religion? Is that what Mr. Mong Pru calls democratic opinion of Wirathu?

  8. When people are in love they do anything. Even convert willingly, just to obtain their objectives: to get married. Only later to find out what they gave up. So even a law or consent or approval will not stop them. Wirathu is pointing out a real problem, but he does not know how to solve it.
    These problems are everywhere. In the US and Europe we have the same sticky problem. And unlike Buddhism other religions always make effort to convert people, in the past by force and now by social or economical pressure.
    The only way to resolve this is to educate the people about the essence of Buddhism!
    Christians here were showing a Cambodian ex-Buddhist monk turned into a Christian. He said that he had found the true religion now as he was fed up with being a Buddhist monk. All things he mentioned about his monkhood made no sense at all! It had nothing to do with Buddhism: astrology, mystical activities, animistic cults etc.
    So I would suggest to Wirathu: put your energy in explaining true Dhamma, living that and uproot non-Buddhistic elements in the practice. You will see nobody wants to convert to something else. Here in the West Buddhism is the fasted growing religion! That says it all.

  9. Just want to add one more thing. I think U Wirathu is the reincarnation of Dae-Wa-Dat (Satan). The Lord Buddha talked about a Satanic monk who preached evil sermons. Check with Buddhist scholars and they’ll tell you about it.

  10. All religions started with good intension for great humanity.

    Along the line, people like U Wirathu, Bin Laden and few others think they are better than the original messengers, try to alter and insert their owns options and messages to the followers. Dangerous situation!

    Only the wised and the educated people would not let them to be brainwashed.

  11. The Change from Buddhist Way to Socialism to Democracy in effect?
    American Democracy Men Marry Women….
    Women Marry Women……
    What would Buddha say today?
    Two people marry …
    Two dog unite….
    Hitler must be laughing “Aryan Race and Gentile!” at Suu Kyi and Thein Sein
    Champion of Democracy……
    U Thant father was South Indian
    General Ne Win father was Chinese
    Bengali father and native Karen
    Arab father and native Arakanese
    India father and native Shan
    What a shame?

  12. 2nd Rangoon – you forgot to mention that the Lord Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) was Hindu or “kalar” as some Burmese sometimes refer to people of Hindu or Bengali origin.

  13. Siddhatha Gotama was not a Kalar (If Kalar is taken to mean “dark skinned”). He is described in the Pali Suttas (the most archaic Buddhist texts) as “golden skinned”. There was neither India nor Burma at that time, only small kingdom states. Technically, in the strictest modern sense, (if at all necessary), the Buddha would be a Nepalese, (not as an Indian) as he was born in Lumbini, which is in Nepal, not India. But really, these arguments don’t get us anywhere.
    Not that it matters to me, whether the Buddha was fair skinned or dark skinned.
    What is important is the character of a person and how evolved he or she is.
    I am for conversions – conversion from ignorance to freedom, from sorrow to happiness.
    I am not for conversions from one religion to another, however.

    Buddhism never spead by sword across Asia. And it can only spread through understanding of the nature of existence. What the Buddha taught was the Dhamma, not a belief in a monotheistic, supernatural, creator God.

    It is wrong to force a conversion upon another person for whatever reason. All decisions of faith should be voluntary, as one matures in understanding. One can also be faith free, be an atheist, or an agnostic. There is nothing wrong with these states of mind. Then we all can co exist peacefully, respecting one another, and maintain decent boundaries.

    Let’s turn our hearts and minds to peaceful, harmonious co existence and stop attacking one another. Let us create a civilized, peaceful world, starting with each individual. Instead of attacking, let us touch – with love.

  14. respect u…you great

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