Punk rockers in Burma speak out against Buddhist monks instigating violence against Muslims while other groups in Myanmar are silent

“It’s not perpetrators that are the problem here,” he says, pointing to conditions that paved the way for the Holocaust in Germany and the genocide in Rwanda, in Africa. “It’s the bystanders.”

It’s a shame that the majority of Buddhist monks in Burma (Myanmar) are mainly silent with respect to the violent attacks against Muslims and that they don’t urge their few but powerful deluded brothers who spread speeches of hate against Muslims to stop such inhuman, immoral and non-Buddhist behaviour. I would like to request, plead and urge the Venerables in Burma: Please tell your brothers that such hate speeches are strongly harming others, that they harm the community, that they are inappropriate, wrong and against Buddha’s teachings and the own Vinaya vows. Such monks who spread hate and contribute with their speeches to the death of other human beings risk even to create a Parajika. It’s wrong to be tolerant with such misbehaviour.

Hate speech experts say the best way to counter people like Wirathu is to seek the voice of moderate Buddhists.

The Venerable Sangha in Burma I respectfully ask to speak up against hate, and violence of some Buddhist monks and not to support their misdeeds with silence. It is your turn to speak up, please do it. You can follow the good example of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, a fully ordained monk with the name Tenzin Gyatso. What he says must come from your voice and your heart:

Please stop.

All the major religions teach us the practice of love, compassion and forgiveness. So a genuine practitioner among these different religious traditions would not indulge in such violence and bullying of other people.

We are religious people, Buddha always teaches us about forgiveness, tolerance, compassion.

If from one corner of your mind, some emotion makes you want to hit, or want to kill, then please remember Buddha’s faith. We are followers of Buddha.

There is also an An Open Letter from the Buddhist Community on Islamophobia who are not silent but state:

As disciples of the Buddha who live in the West, we would like to take the holy month of Ramadan as an opportunity to express our growing concern about Islamophobia, both within our governments and within the Buddhist community worldwide.

And you can find inspiration and a good example from the Open Letter by Buddhist leaders provided to The Huffington Post by Jack Kornfield, co-written and signed by some of the world’s foremost Buddhist leaders to express their concern about the violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, reminding of the meaning of Buddha’s teachings:

  • Buddhist teaching is based on the precepts of refraining from killing and causing harm.
  • Buddhist teaching is based on compassion and mutual care.
  • Buddhist teaching offers respect to all, regardless of class, caste, race or creed.

Read full letter:

The silence is as dangerous as the mobs razing mosques and cheering as Muslims are hunted down and beaten to death with chains and metal pipes, says Michael Salberg, director of international affairs at the United States-based Anti-Defamation League.

Since so far the elder monastic Buddhists in Burma are mainly silent it needs the punk rockers in Burma to speak out against Buddhist monks instigating violence against Muslims. Are 20-somethings punk rockers more clear and brave than the Venerable Elders in Burma? I would like to thank the punk rockers and express my deep respect and gratitude for raising their voice where the voice must be raised:

“All I can really say is, people should look at the teachings of Buddha and ask themselves, is this what he meant?” says Ye Ngwe Soe, the 27-year-old frontman of No U Turn, the country’s most popular punk rock band. He wrote the song “Human Wars” after violence against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state started spilling into other regions. “When I go to some urban areas, I hear talking about 969, hating Muslims, being violent. It should not be this way.”

Read more about the punk rockers who dare to speak up like the punk band Rebel Riot, that rehearses with his group members in a Yangon studio, Burma (Myanmar) in this article from the Bangkok Post:

See also

Alan Strathern’s article

More from BBC about the background of the conflict in Burma


More about Buddhism and Islam by Alexander Berzin

  Last edited by tenpel on November 9, 2013 at 1:57 pm