Jan 29th, 2014
Reported by Soo Htet
Radical Buddhist religious lecturer U Wirathu ( Ma Soe yein Monastery, Mandalay), a leading proponent of 969 Movement, and a civil network known as ‘Ambassadors of Peace and Friendship’ held a joint conference at Ngar Kyam Pyan monastery in Thin Kan Tyun township, Yangon from 1 pm to 3 pm on 23rd January 2014. The purpose of this meeting was to initiate peaceful harmonious co-existence by building mutual trust and clearing doubts. In its Q and A session, a Muslim lady asked U Wirathu four questions. The dialogues were mentioned for the M-Media readers.
The Muslim Lady (ML): Concerning previous catalogue of violence, what do you want to talk to both communities (Buddhists and Muslims) to carry on the harmonious co-existence?
U Wirathu (UW): If one wants citizen or ethnic rights, behave completely and characteristically as a native ethnic. It is not our concern whether they enter the country legally or illegally, but the government’s matter. No matter how they come into the country, we will please with them only if they adopt and practice the culture as we natives do. So, the reason for not getting harmonious co-existence is that people having no complete characteristics of ethnic citizens do not live flexibly with local people.
ML: I do think that Buddhists monks are more kind and gentle than ordinary folk. So, how do you feel for victims of these violence and conflicts?
UW: What we want is not to disadvantage and harm others, and vice versa. That’s why, we’ve defended ourselves from others since the present time. And we sympathize with victims of both sides.
ML: Now we can find some journals like ‘Aung Ze Ya Thu’ edited as well as distributed by Maung Thwe Chon are filled with hatred rhetoric and anti-Islamic articles with one-sided accusations. How can these writings benefit Buddhists?
ML: “Do you think that these journals should also put clarification of these wrong accusation and right message from Muslim side?
UW: When I wrote on Facebook about rape cases, I mentioned about people involved (both victim and culprit), their real names, national registration card no., their phone no. and residential address in detail. People know that I, myself wrote it with reliable facts and they trust in me and they believe about this rape case.
We accept any journals even published by Muslims which use reliable facts as I did. But, I have seen articles and local journals written basing on personal feeling and emotion without any reliable facts and evidence. One of the local journals wrote about me stating that “Terrorist Wirathu, Extremist Wirathu, Murderer Wirathu and Culprit Wirathu” without verification. I don’t wish any journal to publish such baseless things. If you have any hard evidence and point out our faults, we’re ready to accept it. If you highlight about our weakness with strong evidences, we will be able to learn lessons from these, to avoid them in future and to admonish our people.
Likewise, articles written by Muslims should be supported by reliable evidences as we write with full evidence. I encourage people who were hurt by articles without any evidence to take legal action against publishers of any journal or magazine.
Lastly, U Than Thin, MC of the conference, requested U Wirathu to help to stop music CDs played during the charity events at most of the corners of the streets with such lyric as ” we must not be idle, we must be proactive and alert when it comes to defense of race and the religion” which implying social and economic sanction to Muslims.
Then, U Wirathu replied the audience “Does the song mention about Muslims? Does it mention about 786, Islam or Kalar (a discrimination usage against Indian descendants and Muslims)? There is nothing that offends your race and religion in such songs. Therefore, we cannot stop them.”
“Then, if we ban them by using power and order, we will get into trouble with them. What mention in the song is reasonable and legitimate and that is why we allow them to play such songs at will to divert and release their anger and grievance (towards Muslims).”
“If we don’t even permit them to play these songs, their grievance and fury will grow bigger and bigger in their mind and many mosques will be knocked down like the ones in Htan Gone.”