“Extremism Rises Among Myanmar Buddhists”

The New York Times reports:

Ashin Wirathu, a Buddhist monk with a rock-star following in Myanmar, sat before an overflowing crowd of thousands of devotees and launched into a rant against what he called “the enemy” — the country’s Muslim minority.

“You can be full of kindness and love, but you cannot sleep next to a mad dog,” Ashin Wirathu said, referring to Muslims….

Buddhist lynch mobs have killed more than 200 Muslims and forced more than 150,000 people, mostly Muslims, from their homes….

Wirathu denies any role in the riots. But his critics say that at the very least his anti-Muslim preaching is helping to inspire the violence….

In his recent sermon, [Wirathu] described the reported massacre of schoolchildren and other Muslim inhabitants in the central city of Meiktila in March, documented by a human rights group, as a show of strength.

“If we are weak,” he said, “our land will become Muslim.”

UPDATE: Note also this: “The movement has also begun a signature campaign calling for a ban on interfaith marriages, and pamphlets are distributed at sermons listing Muslim brands and shops to be avoided.”