Myanmar government condemns TIME magazine’s July issue

Myanmar’s President Office issued a press release on Sunday’s night, lashing out at the TIME magazine for featuring a Buddhist monk as “Buddhist Terror” on the cover of its July issue.

The press release says the government of Myanmar opposes the TIME magazine’s cover story titled “THE FACE OF BUDDHIST TERROR”, as it can be detrimental to the trust building between religions in Myanmar, and as it can damage the image of Buddhism which has been the main religion of Myanmar for thousands of years.

It says the Buddhist monk U Wirathu, portrayed as “Buddhist Terror” on the cover of TIME magazine’s Vol 182, No. 1, is “a Sangha or a Buddha’s son”. Buddhist monks, also known as Sanghas, are the noble persons who keep 277 precepts or moral rules, and strive peacefully for the prosperity of Buddhism, said the release.

Myanmar government says it does not discriminate the religions and grants freedom of religions. Although the majority of Myanmar people are Buddhists, the government has recognized in the Constitutional Section 362 that Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Animism as are the existing religions in the country, it is said in the release.

Buddhism is also explained as a peaceful religion that is based on knowledge and that preaches Kamma or ’cause and effect’, and self-reliance to attain enlightenment.

Regarding the use of 969 labels, it explains the symbol 969 stands for the 9 virtues of Buddha, 6 of Dhamma (Buddha’s teachings), and 9 of Sangha (Buddhist monks). It is a peaceful symbol and Buddhist monks’ associations have been requested not to misuse it in places that can tarnish Buddhism, the release said.

It also calls for mutual trust building among the religions to avoid undesirable conflicts in the fledgling democratic society of Myanmar. It says the government, religious leaders, political parties, media and the people must co-operate each others to achieve the purpose.

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