The Ayeyawady Region government is planning to sue anti-Muslim monk U Wirathu in response to his “silent protest” in Einme Township on Saturday evening.
Wirathu conducted the protest following a decree issued by the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee (Ma Ha Na) last week that the monk refrain from delivering sermons in Myanmar for one year starting from March 10. The decree was an attempt to crack down on Wirathu’s hate speech.
On Saturday night, Wirathu delivered a “silent sermon” in Einme Township by sitting with tape over his mouth while an audience of hundreds listened to a recording of a previous sermon of his.
Wirathu contends that he did not violate Ma Ha Na’s ban.
“I wonder which law they are going to use against me because I have broken no rules of the [Ma Ha Na] notice,” he told The Irrawaddy. “The notice banned me from delivering sermons, sitting on the plinth and greeting my followers and the audience. I didn’t do that, and instead, just sat there silently. I’ve followed every instruction of the senior sayadaws and broke no laws.”
Ayeyawady Region government officials plan to consult with Ma Ha Na as to whether Wirathu’s “silent sermon” violated their ban.
The monk has a history of ignoring preaching bans in the region. The regional government previously ordered Wirathu not to preach in Pathein in February following the assassination of constitutional lawyer U Ko Ni. The government cited security reasons. Nonetheless, Wirathu delivered a sermon extolling the 969 movement, which advocates for the boycotting of Muslim-owned businesses in Myanmar.
He was also slapped with an indefinite ban from preaching in Ayeyawady Region on March 5, which he violated by giving a sermon in the region three days later.
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