‘Buddhist Bin Laden’ on the run in Myanmar after inflammatory comments
The Burmese government has ordered the arrest of a radical Buddhist monk, dubbed the ‘Buddhist Bin Laden,’ over comments he allegedly made about State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.
Ashin Wirathu is a hardline anti-Muslim campaigner and has long been accused of inciting violence against Myanmar’s Muslim minority, in particular against the country’s beleaguered Rohingya Muslims. Wirathu has apparently fled his compound within the Masoeyein monastery in Mandalay, central Myanmar, and his current whereabouts are unknown.
His recent comments alleged corruption within Suu Kyi’s government, as well as claiming it was trying to erode the power of the military in the nation.
Wirathu’s arrest warrant was issued under the country’s sedition laws, which cover “attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the government.” If convicted, Wirathu faces a possible three-year jail sentence. He was imprisoned before in 2003 but was released nine years later under an amnesty.
While he initially faced pushback against his preaching upon release seven years ago, more recently he has become a prominent figure at military rallies throughout the country, where he has made repeated calls for boycotts of Muslim businesses and referred to Rohingya Muslims as illegal immigrants.