Ashin Wirathu

Ashin Wirathu (b. 1968) is a Burmese Buddhist monk and the leader of the 969 nationalist Buddhist movement. He has received international notoriety for his anti-Muslim rhetoric and was described on the cover of Time in July 2013 as “The Face of Buddhist Terror.” He was jailed for eight years by the military government in the early 2000s and has repeatedly stoked Burmese fears of the Muslim minority since his release. Although Wirathu asserts that his speeches do not explicitly advocate violence, his followers are seen as responsible for anti-Muslim riots and violence that have broken out in Myanmar in 2013. He also promotes the boycott of Muslim-owned businesses, and calls for Buddhist business owners to use a 969 Movement sticker to identify themselves to Buddhist customers. Wirathu and the 969 Movement receive explicit support from members of Myanmar’s government such as Sann Sint, Myanmar’s minister of religious affairs, and members of the National Democratic League.

Sources

Hannah Beech, “The Face of Buddhist Terror,” Time, July 1, 2013.

Thomas Fuller, “Radical monk calls for anger in Myanmar,” The International Herald Tribune, June 21, 2013.

Andrew Marshall, “Special Report: Myanmar gives official blessing to anti-Muslim monks,” Reuters, June 27, 2013, accessed July 15, 2013.

See also: Myanmar