Burmese nationalist monk Wirathu has rejected widespread rumours on social media that he vowed to carry out self-immolation as a protest if Burma failed to adopt the proposed Race Protection Laws by the end of November.
According to news reports recently circulating online, at the fourth plenary meeting of the Upper Burma Race and Religion Protection Organisation, locally abbreviated as ma-ba-tha, on 27 October, Wirathu issued an ultimatum threatening to douse himself with gasoline and self-immolate on 2 December should the proposed race and religion protection bills not be adopted into law by the end of November.
“I did not say that or made any written statement about it – I have rejected these rumours on my social media pages,” said Wirathu, adding that he was forced to open a new social media account as his previously account was hacked.
Wirathu is also often cited as the leader of the “969 movement”, whose philosophy asserts that Islam poses an existential threat to Burmese Buddhism. In 2003, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his role in inciting anti-Muslim violence in Mandalay, Burma’s second-largest city, but was released in 2012 as part of a prisoner amnesty.