Buddhist monk banned from preaching in Ayeyarwady

EMG reporter

Ayeyarwady Region's government has banned Ashin Wirathu, the nationalIst Buddhist monk and high-profile leader of the religious organisation known as Ma Ba Tha, from preaching in the region.

A regional government's statement said U Wirathu gave a religious talk on February 9 in Kyoneku village tract in Ngaputaw Township, Ayeyarwady Region, breaching rules of the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committeea government-appointed body of high-ranking monks that oversees and regulates the Sangha or Buddhist clergy in Myanmar.

His speech encouraged religious hatred, said the statement, adding that the ban was meant to prevent any religious or racial violence being encouraged in the region.

“Official permission is needed for such speeches. And the preaching should comply with the rules of the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee. After we found out that some previous speeches violated the rules, the regional government decided to ban further events,” said an official from the regional government.

U Wirathu was also due to appear in Pathein and Phyarpon townships. 

The sangha committee held a meeting on March 8 about U Wirathu after Ayeyarwady Region's government sent a complaint, according to the firebrand monk's Facebook page.