How Come We Have No Christian Clergy With This Buddhist Monk’s Moral Clarity?

I think I’m going to shave my head and dress in simple saphron robes. I love this monk!

WP: By all appearances, Wirathu seems an unlikely leader of sectarian violence. He speaks in soft, measured tones, clasping his hands thoughtfully. Like all Burmese Buddhist monks, his head is shaved and he is draped in a simple saffron robe. He teaches at a quiet and dimly lit monastery in Mandalay where monks kneel in study or prayer and flowers and images of religious figures decorate the walls. It’s every bit the Western stereotype of Buddhist tranquility.

But the exterior of the monastery is gruesome, coated with propaganda posters depicting violence he claims has been perpetrated by the Rohingya, Burma’s Muslim ethnic minority: collapsed temples and blood-streaked bodies.

“These pictures are here to protect our religion and our national interest,” the monk calmly explained to a BBC reporter in a 2013 documentary. “If we do not protect our own people we will become weak, and we will face more mass killings of this kind when they grow to outnumber us.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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