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Myanmar Government actively promotes and legalizes anti-Muslim genocidal hate speech

By Dr. Maung Zarni
June 6, 2014

Myanmar government and its leaders patronize, actively promote and legalize hate speech

#Myanmar President Thein Sein sinisterly & strategically tolerates anti-#Muslim hate speech by racist #Buddhists, monks and lay public. Here is a penal code that Naypyidaw chooses NOT to enforce:

Myanmar Penal Code Article 153A:

"Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representations, or otherwise, promotes or attempts to promote feelings of enmity or hatred between different classes of [persons resident in the Union] shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both."

Quite the contrary, Thein Sein-ShweMann-Hsan Hsint (President, Speaker of the House and Minister of Religious Affairs respectively) collaborate with one another, patronize the leading hate group - Ma-Ba-Tha (The Race and Faith Defence League) with direct links to 969, and have ordered the drafting of this hate-soaked 'anti-religious conversion' bill.

This should be a serious cause for concerns for western liberal governments, as well as anti-hate groups and campaigns around the world.

(un-official translation of Thein Sein's order to draft the hate bill - I am not the translator).

Union of Burma
President’s Office
Letter no. 107 (5) / 8 / President Office

Dated February 25 2014


The National Assembly (Pyi Thaung Su Htwuttaw)
Regarding: Matters related to proposal of new laws

1. A letter dated July 9th 2013 signed by the chief official monk (the advisor to the country), Agamaha Panita Awada sariya bandanatilawkarbiwanta (President, Preservation of Race, Religion and Faith Organization) urged the President that four new laws that must be prescribed without fail in order to resolve the current conflicts that are happening in Burma by addressing the main cause which is social inequality. The monks who are leading the efforts to protect and preserve race and religion, as well as other monks all over the country and general public who are supporting this have collected 1335600 signatures to expressed their wishes.

2. The following are the four laws described in the petition.
a. A law to govern religious conversion – To prevent misunderstanding when conversion by providing open and systematic
b. An interfaith marriage law – To protect the rights of ethnic Buddhists when marrying people who are of different faiths.
c. A law to outlaw polygamy – it is proposed to prevent the marriage and other social issue related problems.
d. A law for population control – Based on the land and space availability of the country , government rule and stability, economic development, health and education sufficient service provision, people of all faith needs to obey by this law.

3. This matter of requesting to prescribe new laws is extremely profound and delicate religious affairs and these were not included in the Constitution charts (1), (2), and (3). I am sending the petition from the Preservation of Race, Religion, and Faith Organization (Central) to the National Assembly as the Constitution code 98 has given the National Assembly the authority to draft a bill and if necessary to work on prescribing into laws for the matters that are not described in above mentioned charts (1), (2) and (3).

From Thein Sein

Myawadi, the sole TV station set up exclusively for the rank and file of Myanmar Tatmadaw (literally, 'feudal army'), is broadcasting anti-Muslim hate speech.

In this sample clip of a little over 1 minutes, the monk named "Dr" NandarMala BiWunTha, is seen delivering a standard piece of hate speech: the menace of religious conversion (from Buddhism to Islam). 



[May 19, 2014]

This week our current affairs program examines the following topics:

1) the rapid growth and the rise in the social power of the Ma-Ba-Tha in Myanmar;

2) the question as to whether President Thein Sein and the state's sole governing body of the Buddhist Order - Sanga Maha Nayaka - are in effect recognizing the new league; and 

3) who really is supporting and backing this defense league. 

This analysis is presented by U Sithu Aung Myint with the assistance from Daw Ingyin Naing (of the VOA Burmese).

U Sithu Aung Myint: On 12 and 13 May, the Sangha Maha Nayaka convened a general meeting of all Buddhist sects, which it had not held for 20 years. While the preparations for the meeting were underway one curious development took place: on 8 May, the patron abbots of the Sangha Maha Nayaka publicly received the leading and executive monks from the Race and Faith Defense League or RFDL and offered the latter words of advice and guidance. 

One reason this development is rather curious is this: under the rules and regulations or policies of the Sangha governing body, adopted 30 years ago, the Sangha Maha Nayaka is recognized as the sole official national Sangha organization. So, the fact that the governing body of the Buddhist Order reportedly met with the new RFDL really is noteworthy - and indeed curious.

We begin by discussing the birth and rise of RFDL, its activities, who are the behind-the-scenes key players, and whether the rumors that there is considerable involvement (from the powers that be) in the RFDL. 

Daw Ingyin Naing: 

Daw Ingyin Naing: As all of us the Burmese know 2012 saw the birth and rise of the campaign to mobilize Buddhism under the banner of 969. Last year two major RFDL offices, central headquarters and the main branch (Upper Burma), were established in Rangoon and Mandalay. Subsequently, we also saw the formation of township level RFDL organizations. The main objective of the RFDL is to push for the emergence of a (National) Law in defense of Buddhist Race and Faith in Burma. Towards that end, these organizations held public forums and launched signature campaigns throughout the country. 

Rev. Wirathu of Mandalay's new Ma-soe-yein monastery, one of the most prominent monks from the RFDL, began to promote the political message coupling the need for the National Defese of Faith and Race Law and opposition against a Constitutional amendment of Article 59 (F), which bars Daw ASSK from running for president. His twofold message 'Support Race and Faith Defense Law, Oppose the amendment of Article 59 (F)' has caused widespread suspicions among the Burmese public as to whether the RFDL has a (hidden) political aim, who is supporting and backing the RFDL, its message and activities. However, the leading monks from the RFDL deny that their campaign is purely for the defense of race and faith and they have nothing to do with politics. 

U Sithu Aung Myint: 

Recently, the President of the RFDL, namely Rev. Ti-Law-Ka Bi-Wun-Tha from Insein Ywama, Rangoon, wrote to President Thein Sein urging the President to enact 4 new bills including the 'National Defense of Race and Faith'. The letter was sent to the President along with the signed petitions. All previous military governments as well as the present quasi-civilian government of ex-General and President Thein Sein had never recognized any Sangha or monk organizations other than the official Sangha Maha Nayaka organization. According to the policies and regulations of this Sangha governing body, the RFDL is not yet a lawful monks' organization. 

However, what is perplexing is President Thein Sein not only announced to the nation the receipt of the written request from RFDL for the enactment of 4 new laws including National Defense of Race and Faith but he has also referred the matter to Thura Shwe Mann, the Speaker of the Lower House (and Chairman of the ruling USDP Party). 

Even more perplexing is this: Speaker of the Parliament Shwe Mann opted NOT to have any parliamentary discussion as to whether the monks' request for the enactment of the 4 new laws re: race and faith defense merits any serious consideration or which of the four should be tabled and which should be rejected. Instead the Speaker decided to refer the matter back to the Executive Branch (of President Thein Sein) and asking the latter to draft all 4 bills as urged by the RFDL. In effect, what this all amounts to is in clear violation of the existing policies and regulations governing the affairs of the Buddhist Order, both President Thein Sein and Speaker Shwe Mann have not only effectively recognized (the legality of) the RFDL but these two senior most leaders of the country have reached an instant agreement to enact the 4 laws as urged by the Race and Faith Defense League. 

Daw Ingyin Naing: There is one more important move (by the government and its leaders). That is, the Minister for Religious Affairs ex-general Hsan Hsint had intervened to make the sole Sangha governing body to confer on the Race and Faith Defense League instant official recognition. Hsan Hsint had justified his intervention by stating that of the 3 utmost duties of the Sangha or Buddhist Order - namely, purity, maintenance and promulgation of the (Buddhist) faith - the Race and Face Defense League is carrying out the two duties - maintenance and promulgation, thereby officially making the RDFL a monks' organization independent of the Sangha's official governing body. This is the very first time such development - the creation of an independent and separate monks' organization - has taken place. 

Meanwhile, the two leading Ma-Ba-Tha monks from Mandalay Division, Rev. Eida Sakka Biwun and joint secretary Rev. Ya-tha, signed the official RFDL statement declaring over 100 Burmese civil society organizations to be 'national traitors'. The reason for this 'national traitors' designation is that these listed organizations have aired their public objection against President Thein Sein ordering the drafting of the National Defense of Race and Faith bill. 

Likewise, the Esteemed Rev. Badanda Pyinya Nanda and another Esteemed Rev, Dharma Pee Ya Lankaya, Saggaing RDFL's Chair-Monk and a member of the Executive Committee respectively, have signed the statement declaring many civil society organizations to be "lice from inside the flesh" (or a-thar htae ga lauk mya'). 

Furthermore, some of the RFDL monks from Shan State RFDL and Mandalay Division RFDL have began agitating against investment from Muslim countries and urging the public to boycott Oredoo Telecommunications - (one of two telecom giants which won the bid to build telecom infrastructure and services in Burma; the other is Norway's Telenor). 

Finally, Rev. Par-mauk-hka of the Ma-gwe Monastery who is with the Race and Faith Defense League (Central headquarters) is saying that he will be doing a petition drive to get the voting rights of Buddhist monks and sending petitions, to President Thein Sein to urge the latter to oblige the monks' request.

Examining these developments, the direction of the Race and Faith Defense League, the nature of its activities have become more obvious. Additionally, the clouds of opaqueness as to who is backing and supporting this Race and Faith Defense League have gone: President Thein Sein, Speaker Shwe Mann and Minister of Religious Affairs Hsan Hsint themselves stand firmly behind the Ma-Ba-Tha.

This is all from us this week. 

Current Affairs/(Burma's) Domestic News Analysis
19 May 2014

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