Eight Facts About Buddhist Fundamentalist U Wirathu

By Isheta Salgaocar 

1. Ashin Wirathu was born on July 10, 1968 in Kyaukse, Myanmar. He is popularly knows as “Venerable U Wirathu.”

2. He is the leader of the 969 is a nationalist movement that is opposed to Islam’s expansion. The organization gets it’s name from the teachings of Buddha. The first 9 represents 9 attributes of the Lord Buddha, the 6 is for special attributes of his  teachings, and the last 9 represents the nine special attributes of Buddhist monks. The movement has been described as Islamophobic. There are even sites dedicated to monitoring Islamophobia today, such as Islamophobia Today.

3. He joined the Buddhist order at the age of 17 and is currently an Abbott at Masoyein Monastery, in Mandalay

4. He spreads his message  via social media, often through speeches on YouTube.

5. Current Burmese President Thein Sein has defended Wirathu time and again, and has said the monk is striving for prosperity.

6. He was arrested in 2003 and sentenced to twenty-five years imprisonment at Myitkyinar Prison for propagating hate crimes and speech. He was released in 2011 along with other political prisoners in post-junta ruled Myanmar.

7. He was the subject of Time Magazine’s international cover story titled “The Face Of Buddhist Terror.” Hundred’s of people protested against Time Magazine July 2013 cover on Buddhist Nationalism. The government also banned Time’s July story.

8. Wirathu escaped a bomb blast intended on taking his life on July 21, 2013.

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