‘Burmese Bin Laden’ and the proliferation of anti-Muslim hate speech in Burma
THE Facebook account of Burma’s most notorious firebrand Buddhist monk, the self-styled “Burmese bin Laden,” was wiped this week for his incendiary posts about Muslims. Ashin Wirathu has for years used his social media platform to disseminate anti-Muslim hate speech, divisive sermons and dangerous rumours about the stateless Rohingya minority. He’s also long been accused of stoking sectarian violence between the country’s Buddhist majority and the small Muslim minority. But while Wirathu may be one of the more widely known anti-Muslim voices on the platform, he is far from the only one. SEE ALSO: Burma is destroying the villages of 90 percent of Rohingya who fled Facebook has become incredibly popular in Burma (Myanmar) since the newly formed government opened up the telecoms sector in 2013, making it easier for people to access the Internet in the Buddhist-majority country. While the proliferation of smartphones and cheap sim cards has opened up the world for the people of Burma, disinformation campaigns and inflammatory speech has also been able to spread unchecked. The social media giant has come under intense criticism for failing to curb the vitriolic, anti-Rohingya propaganda that has circulated on the platform, especially in recent months during the violent crackdown in Rakhine State. Monk Wirathu was labelled the ‘Face of Buddhist Terror’ by TIME magazine in 2013. Source: TIME When attempts are made to silence ultranationalist voices in the real world, they just move online, broadcasting their hate speech to a wider audience, as was the case with Wirathu and his organisation, known locally as Ma Ba Tha. SEE ALSO: Rohingya crisis: How social media adds fuel to the flame After Nobel laureate Suu Kyi came to power in 2016, the government dissolved the Ma Ba Tha group and slapped the monk with a one-year speaking ban. This only led him... If you wish to read this full breaking news headline, plus more articles from around Thailand and Asia like, ‘Burmese Bin Laden’ and the proliferation of anti-Muslim hate speech in Burma, simply click on 'Read full story' below, but 1st please give us a 'LIKE' or 'SHARE' before you leave. Thank you
Published By: ASIAN CORRESPONDENT - Thursday, 1 March, 2018
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