Myanmar's Influential Sitagu Openly Propagates Fear of Islam while Stroking Religious Nationalism Amongst Buddhists At Home

Photo by Pyae Sone Aung/EPA

Sitagu is far more senior, far more credible and far more influential than Wirathu. He founded the Sitagu Buddhist Peace University. But do not feel fooled by his discourse of peace in English sermons.

Like Wirathu, Sitagu has powerful patrons - the Commander in Chief Min Aung Hlaing and the senior military commanders. Like the Thai Armed Forces, the Burmese Armed Forces now consider "protection of Buddhism and Buddhist Bama/Burmese Race" as their additional duty, besides safeguarding the territorial integrity, sovereignty, etc. 

(Photo: BBC)


He has a different script - in Burmese language - for the home audience.

Date and venue of the sermon, I am still trying to find out. It was posted on Facebook by a critic of his yesterday. 

Here is the gist of Sitagu's sermon in this nearly 3 minutes clip:

1) Present-day Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir, Bangladesh were Buddhist nations for about 1000 years. Look what they are today.

That's because of the FAILURES to protect the Buddhist countries against the onslaught of Islam - on the part of the Buddhist kings, Buddhist public and Buddhist monks. 

2) Turkey used to be Christian. Now it is a Muslim nation. 

3) In 1958, there was a Multi-ethnic Forum (Hni Naw Pha Lae Pwe) held at Rangoon City Hall. The Rakhine leader ICS U Kyaw Min spoke there as well. I went to listen to the presentations. There Muslim leaders from Pyaw Bwe and Ya Mae Thin (near Naypyiday today) demuanded their towns the status of a separate Muslim region because they say Muslims were majority of the residents. 

4) Look at the situation today in Buthidaung and Maung Daw. 

5) Look at Southern Thailand. 

6) Look at USA. They are so afraid of peoples with long beards and long robes. Even us, Saffron Buddhist monks, we are seen as potential suicide bombers. (At airports) they would do body searches with us, the only place they would not search is the place between our thighs! 

7) I am not singling out and stigmatizing one single religion (Islam). 

I am just reminding you of our individual responsibility to protect our faith." 


Sitagu ignores all other cases which will undermine or contradict his argument that Islam is the biggest threat to non-Muslim countries. 

For instance, India today is under the influence of Hindu Fundamentalisms. Sri Lanka is pursuing a violent "Buddhist" nationalism toways Hindu Tamils, Muslims and Christians. 

Israel is a Zionist Jewish nation which colonized the predominantly Muslim Palestinians since 1948. 

And the greatest threat to the United States' peace and stability are its imperialist Foreign Policy and non-stop invasions and wars, as well as White Christian neo-Fascist networks. 

Cambodia was a Hindu kingdom - Ankor Wat was Hindu monastery where sexual organs were symbols of workship as "the source of life" - that was turned into Buddhist, when the rulers decided to convert to Buddhism. 

Aung San Suu Kyi herself has succumbed to this view: she said this publicly on her Oct 2013 Radio Four Interview on BBC. She couched it as "perception of the rise of Muslim power worldwide" and she repeated a similarly racist view in her BBC interview with Fergal Kean a few months ago: "Muslims killing Muslims" in Rakhine state and how Buddhist Rakhine are afraid of Muslims.


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