The Irrawaddy breaks the news that a convention of Buddhist monks in Burma (including the odious U Wirathu of the “969 Movement”) has called for the restricting of Buddhist-Muslim interfaith marriages in the land, similar in many ways to policies in Singapore and Malaysia. There aren’t any real surprises here, but the thick layer of sexism and misogyny in this particular story is worth noting:
“Defending women’s freedom” by taking away a human right granted to them in Article 16 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, and, as men, deciding what’s best for them? Well, that’s a new one on me!
A copy of the law proposed by the monks would require any Buddhist woman seeking to marry a Muslim man to first gain permission from her parents and local government officials. It also requires any Muslim man who marries a Buddhist woman to convert to Buddhism.
Those who do not follow these rules could face up to 10 years in prison and have their property confiscated, according to the draft law…
U Wirathu, a well-known nationalist monk, said he was delighted with the plans to try to stop any Buddhist woman from marrying a Muslim man. “I have dreamed of this law for a long time. It is important to have this law to protect our Buddhist women’s freedom,” he said during a press conference.
[SECOND UPDATE: The Irrawaddy is now reporting that a second monastic conference “concluded on Friday without any mention of a proposal by nationalist monk U Wirathu to lobby for a law that would put restrictions on Buddhist-Muslim marriages. Instead, the organizers called for peace and communal harmony in Burma and denounced the proposal.”]