RELIGION

Myanmar government criticizes Buddhist nationalist group

  • FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2015 file photo, nationalist Buddhist monk Wirathu speaks during a rally to protest against a resolution adopted by the U.N. General Assembly calling on Myanmar to grant citizenship to Rohingya, in Yangon, Myanmar. Myanmar's government has denounced an influential Buddhist nationalist group, led by Wirathu, after failing to speaking against it strongly while others were accusing it of using hate speech and inspiring violence against Muslims. The Ma Ba Tha organization's charismatic leader Wirathu responded Wednesday, July 13, 2016 by calling the country's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, a "woman dictator." (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win, File)

    FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2015 file photo, nationalist Buddhist monk Wirathu speaks during a rally to protest against a resolution adopted by the U.N. General Assembly calling on Myanmar to grant citizenship to Rohingya, in Yangon, Myanmar. Myanmar's government has denounced an influential Buddhist nationalist group, led by Wirathu, after failing to speaking against it strongly while others were accusing it of using hate speech and inspiring violence against Muslims. The Ma Ba Tha organization's charismatic leader Wirathu responded Wednesday, July 13, 2016 by calling the country's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, a "woman dictator." (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Sept. 21, 2015 file photo, nationalist Buddhist monk Wirathu, center, marches in Mandalay, the second largest city in Myanmar. Myanmar's government has denounced an influential Buddhist nationalist group, led by Wirathu, after failing to speaking against it strongly while others were accusing it of using hate speech and inspiring violence against Muslims. The Ma Ba Tha organization's charismatic leader Wirathu responded Wednesday, July 13, 2016 by calling the country's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, a "woman dictator." (AP Photo/Hkun Lat, File)

    FILE - In this Sept. 21, 2015 file photo, nationalist Buddhist monk Wirathu, center, marches in Mandalay, the second largest city in Myanmar. Myanmar's government has denounced an influential Buddhist nationalist group, led by Wirathu, after failing to speaking against it strongly while others were accusing it of using hate speech and inspiring violence against Muslims. The Ma Ba Tha organization's charismatic leader Wirathu responded Wednesday, July 13, 2016 by calling the country's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, a "woman dictator." (AP Photo/Hkun Lat, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this June 4, 2016 file photo nationalist Buddhist monk Wirathu, holding a microphone, prepares to address devotees during a ceremony of Organization for the Protection of Race and Religion, known as its' Burmese abbreviation Ma Ba Tha at a Buddhist monastery in the suburbs of Yangon, Myanmar. Myanmar's government has denounced the influential Buddhist nationalist group, led by Wirathu, after failing to speaking against it strongly while others were accusing it of using hate speech and inspiring violence against Muslims. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe, File)

    FILE - In this June 4, 2016 file photo nationalist Buddhist monk Wirathu, holding a microphone, prepares to address devotees during a ceremony of Organization for the Protection of Race and Religion, known as its' Burmese abbreviation Ma Ba Tha at a Buddhist monastery in the suburbs of Yangon, Myanmar. Myanmar's government has denounced the influential Buddhist nationalist group, led by Wirathu, after failing to speaking against it strongly while others were accusing it of using hate speech and inspiring violence against Muslims. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe, File)  (The Associated Press)

Myanmar's government has denounced an influential Buddhist nationalist group after failing to speaking against it strongly while others were accusing it of using hate speech and inspiring violence against Muslims.

The Ma Ba Tha organization's charismatic leader, the monk Wirathu, responded Wednesday by calling the country's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, a "woman dictator."

The Sangha Council, a state institution that oversees Buddhist monastic discipline, declared Tuesday that it did not recognize Ma Ba Tha in the Buddhist order. The government's minister for Yangon said last week the group shouldn't exist, responding to Ma Ba Tha's demands on policy toward the Muslim Rohingya minority.