News / Asia

Burma Bans Time Magazine Labeling Monk as 'Face of Terror'

A Buddhist devotee holds an umbrella for controversial Buddhist monk Wirathu (L), who is accused of instigating sectarian violence between Buddhists and Muslims through his sermons, , near Rangoon, Burma, June 14, 2013.A Buddhist devotee holds an umbrella for controversial Buddhist monk Wirathu (L), who is accused of instigating sectarian violence between Buddhists and Muslims through his sermons, , near Rangoon, Burma, June 14, 2013.
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A Buddhist devotee holds an umbrella for controversial Buddhist monk Wirathu (L), who is accused of instigating sectarian violence between Buddhists and Muslims through his sermons, , near Rangoon, Burma, June 14, 2013.
A Buddhist devotee holds an umbrella for controversial Buddhist monk Wirathu (L), who is accused of instigating sectarian violence between Buddhists and Muslims through his sermons, , near Rangoon, Burma, June 14, 2013.
VOA News
Burma has banned distribution of a Time Magazine cover story that portrays a fundamentalist Burmese monk as an inciter of terrorism against Muslims.

In a statement late Tuesday, the Burmese government said the ban is aimed at preventing a recurrence of violence between majority Buddhists and minority Muslims.

The magazine cover features a photo of the fundamentalist monk known as Wirathu, with the words "The Face of Buddhist Terror."

Officials said a committee investigating recent Buddhist-Muslim violence made the decision to block the magazine cover and accompanying article. It is not clear whether the rest of Time Magazine's latest issue will be distributed in Burma.

Radical monks, such as Wirathu, have been urging Burmese Buddhists to boycott Muslim-owned businesses and avoid marriages with Muslims. His critics say the boycott appeals have encouraged Buddhist extremists to commit violence against Muslims.

Wirathu insists he is a man of peace. Many Buddhists have objected to the Time Magazine story, saying it distorts the peaceful nature of their faith.

Wirathu was jailed in 2003 for inciting deadly anti-Muslim riots, but was released in 2012 as part of a general amnesty. Some analysts say new freedoms of speech introduced in Burma since the end of military-rule have made it easier for radicals to promote their views.

Deadly confrontations between Burmese Buddhists and Muslims have killed more than 200 people in the past year, most of them Muslims.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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by: ZuMaui
July 18, 2013 10:26 PM
While having a leisurely breakfast with some friends, my girlfriend (who knows I study Buddhism) spoke up about this news. She said "Isn't it terrible that there are Buddhist monks who are Terrorists in Asia?" I had to make a supreme effort to remain calm and so I concentrated on my food. The conversation also pointed fingers at abusive Catholic nuns, and overbearing and over-religious parents (of all faiths). I was speechless with anger. In my silence and refusal to join in the battering of Buddhists or Catholics, the subject eventually wanedl. However, I missed an opportunity to teach what I know as I did not feel strong enough to defend Buddhism. I still don't feel accomplished or studied enough, but this is what I do know. Rather than pointing fingers at "Someone else" who is doing "terrible things" why are we not looking at ourselves? Did my friend realize how uncomfortable I was? Did she stop to consider her own life and what she may have done to others? I think of my own family, how could I be a better, more loving, calmer, less irritated person? How can I make sure my child does not end up angry and resentful at others? How can I be more tolerant of others? I cannot defend Buddhism or any other religion. I can say that we are humans, with natures that do perform moralistically wrong. And a Buddhist monk in terms of being a human is no different than a Catholic Priest or any other person of faith. If it is not happening in our back yard why are we making ourselves and others crazy about it? This doesn't mean that I don't care...I care in a profound way. In such a way that is at times overwhelming to think of. In order to not shut down and become un-responsive I have to act, and the closest thing that I know I can accomplish is with my own actions. Hopefully my actions in terms of peace, tolerance and remaining silent when baited to join in pointing fingers at others will help in some small way.

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