05/29/2019, 09.30
MYANMAR
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Naypyidaw: arrest warrant for Wirathu, "the Buddhist bin Laden"

The ultranationalist monk has long been the face of the Association for the Protection of Race and Religion. He accuses the government of Aung San Suu Kyi of favoring Muslims and not protecting Buddhism. The Wirathu monastery is located in Mandalay, but it is not known where the monk is or if he was arrested.

Naypyidaw (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Myanmar police have issued an arrest warrant for the ultranationalist monk Wirathu (photo), known as "the Buddhist bin Laden" for his incitement against Islam and in particular the community of Rohingya Muslims .

Wirathu has long been the face of the Association for the Protection of Race and Religion, commonly known by the Burmese acronym Ma Ba Tha. The religious and secular authorities banned the movement in May 2017. It had 10 million members in nearly 300 Myanmar municipalities. It is in those that were the strongholds of the group that the most serious episodes of religious intolerance occur in the country; also against Christians, who are often even prevented from meeting for Sunday services.

Myo Thu Soe, a police spokesman, announced yesterday that the arrest warrant for Wirathu was "filed and implemented directly in the western district court under Article 124 (a)". The official did not provide specific details on the reasons for the provision. The law condemns anyone who "seeks to provoke hatred or contempt, incites or attempts to incite disaffection with the government" and carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison. The Wirathu monastery is located in Mandalay, but it is not known where the monk is now or when he could be arrested.

In 2013, the extremist monk appeared on the cover of Time magazine as "The Face of Buddhist Terror". Wirathu promoted the violent boycott of Muslim-owned businesses on national soil and called for restrictions on marriages between Buddhists and Muslims. A council of senior monks temporarily prevented him from speaking in public, but the abbot took part in a series of pro-military demonstrations since the ban ended in March last year. Wirathu accuses the government of Aung San Suu Kyi of favoring Muslims and of not protecting the traditions and culture of Buddhism, a task which in his opinion is carried out by the army alone.

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