Special Report: Myanmar gives official blessing to anti-Muslim monks

By Andrew R.C. Marshall

YANGON | Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:15pm EDT

(Reuters) – The Buddhist extremist movement inMyanmar, known as 969, portrays itself as a grassroots creed.

Its chief proponent, a monk named Wirathu, was once jailed by the former military junta for anti-Muslim violence and once called himself the “Burmese bin Laden.”

But a Reuters examination traces 969’s origins to an official in the dictatorship that once ran Myanmar, and which is the direct predecessor of today’s reformist government. The 969 movement now enjoys support from senior government officials, establishment monks and even some members of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), the political party of Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

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