ISLAMABAD: The latest issue of Jaish-e-Mohammad's (JeM) weekly magazine Al-Qalam lashes out at the extremist Buddhist monk who has been labelled as 'Buddhist bin Laden' by global media.
"This Buddhist terrorist is called 'bin Laden of Buddhism', while he is in fact 'bin rat'," says the leading column, which regularly appears in every issue of the Al-Qalam and is reportedly authored by the proscribed organisation's emir Masood Azhar.
JeM's tirade against the ultra nationalist monk Ashin Wirathu is because of his instigation of Myanmar's Buddhist nationalists to massacre and push out Rohingya Muslims. Castigating Wirathu, the article spells out the difference between bin Laden and Wirathu. "Bin Laden was a lion who came out to help the helpless, while Wirathu is just a dog who is barking while sitting in the comforts of his home," the article says. "Bin Laden was a brave and fearless man who challenged global imperialism on its face, while Wirathu is a lowly coward who is attacking unarmed civilians."
This is why, the authors goes on, Wirathu needs to be called 'bin rat' rather than Buddhist bin Laden for he has nothing in common with a brave man like bin Laden.
The author of the article, Saadi (which is reportedly the pen name of JeM head Masood Azhar), describes Wirathu as the 'key anti-Islam figure in Myanmar', the 'Buddhist terrorist' and 'a barbarian'. Eulogising bin Laden, the author calls him "a highly ethical brave man who never violated his county's minorities and rather helped the poor not only in his own country but in whatever he lived in". "Wirathu on the other hand is attacking a minority of his country and brutally killing them," he adds.
He goes on to warn Myanmar of dire consequences if Rohingya killings continue. Muslims will, he says, crush Wirathu for "committing barbaric terrorism against Muslims". In the last section, the author pays tribute to Rohingya Muslims for offering sacrifice to awaken the Muslim ummah and calls upon the Muslim world to do whatever every Muslim could. The article ends with an invitation to the Muslims to join the cause. "All Muslims of the world must unite for this cause. We have to do something. And do it urgently. Myanmar's soil is earnestly waiting for the thumping sound of the footsteps of the conquerors."
Ashin Wirathu is a revered Buddhist monk in Myanmar, who has been inciting violence against Muslims throughout the country, invoking ultra nationalist sentiments and creating a dire human rights situation. Despite the outcry from international human rights organisations, Wirathu continues to give passionate sermons from his Mandalay base calling on Buddhists to stand up against the "Muslim threat". "I believe Islam is a threat not just to Buddhism, but to the [Burmese] people and the country," The Telegraph quoted Wirathu as saying. In July 2013, Time magazine labelled him as the "Face of Buddhist terror", on its cover. In 2015, the extremist monk was condemned by UN's Human Rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein for his sexist comments against a UN envoy. Wirathu had called Yanghee Lee, special rapporteur on Myanmar, a 'bit** and wh***' for her comments in defence of Rohingya Muslims.
The latest JeM statement is not the first one from a proscribed organisation listed as terror outfit by the UN as well Pakistan's government. On September 4, Afghan Taliban issued a strong statement on Rohingya Muslims urging the Muslims worldwide to keep the Rohingya Muslims in their thoughts. "Gird up your loins for the defence, rescue, sanctuary and every type of aid to them and perform your obligation of Islamic empathy towards them," the statement said.
Moreover, Jabhat-ul-Nusra and AQAP, the al Qaeda's offshoots in Syria and Yemen, have also called the "Muslim ummah around the world" for retaliatory attacks against Myanmar in particular and Buddhists in general. The sentiment against the Buddhism is conspicuous in the latest publication of JeM as well.
Published in Daily Times, September 12th 2017.