Arrest Warrant Issued for “Burmese Bin Laden”
A court in Myanmar has issued an arrest warrant against Wirathu, a notorious Buddhist monk known as “the Buddhist bin Laden” for his incitement against Islam and in particular the community of Rohingya Muslims, causing religious tensions in Myanmar.
Although police have so far declined to specify the reasons behind Wirathu’s charges, the monk will likely face up to life imprisonment under the country’s sedition law, which prohibits stirring up “hatred”, “contempt” or “disaffection” towards the government.
Wirathu has been leading the Association for the Protection of Race and Religion, commonly known by the Burmese acronym Ma Ba Tha, often considered to be radical and ultranationalist. It was banned by the government in May 2017.
With nearly 10 million members across Myanmar, the most serious episodes of religious intolerance occur in these places where their members are active. They are also against Christians, often preventing them from meeting for Sunday services or beating or threatening them with the goal to intimidate them from practicing their religion.
The firebrand monk is usually based at his Mandalay monastery, but a judge has told police to bring him before a court in the country’s main city of Yangon before June 4. Wirathu reportedly told local media, “If they want to arrest me, they can do it.”