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Patriotic Association of Myanmar

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Patriotic Association of Myanmar
အမျိုးသား ဘာသာ သာသနာ စောင့်ရှောက်ရေးအဖွဲ့
AbbreviationPAM (Ma Ba Tha)
SuccessorDhamma Vaṃsānurakkhita Association of Myanmar
Formation15 January 2014 (2014-01-15)
DissolvedJuly 2017; 6 years ago (2017-07)
PurposeTheravada Buddhism, Buddhist nationalism
Far-right politics
HeadquartersInsein Township, Yangon Region, Myanmar
Ywama Sayadaw Ashin Tilokabhivamsa
Vice Chairman
Ashin Wirathu

The Patriotic Association of Myanmar (Burmese: အမျိုးသား ဘာသာ သာသနာ စောင့်ရှောက်ရေး အဖွဲ့), abbreviated Ma Ba Tha (မဘသ) in Burmese and variously translated into English as Association for the Protection of Race and Religion, Organisation for the Protection of Race and Religion and Committee for the Protection of Nationality and Religion[1] is an ultra-nationalist Buddhist organisation based in Myanmar (Burma).[2] Some PAM members are connected to the 969 Movement.[3]


On 15 January 2014,[4] PAM was formally established at a large based conference of Buddhist monks in Mandalay, with the mission of defending Theravada Buddhism in Burma.[5] Its Pali name is Sāsana Vaṃsa Pāla (သာသနဝံသပါလ), which literally means "protector of race and Śāsana."

PAM may have been formed in response to the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee's prohibition of the '969' emblem for political uses.[3][6]


PAM is led by a central committee composed of 52 members, including both senior scholar monks and nationalist monks.[7] Ashin Wirathu is a prominent member of PAM and is described as "the leader of the most extreme fringe" of the group.[8][9] PAM has extensive networks and chapters at state and township levels across Burma.[10] PAM is currently chaired by the Ywama Sayadaw Ashin Tilokabhivamsa.[11] Its headquarters are located Ywama Pariyatti Monastery (ရွာမပရိယတ္တိ စာသင်တိုက်), Insein Township, Yangon Region.

Legislative lobbying

In 2013, the Burmese Ministry of Religious Affairs drafted 4 controversial Race and Religion Protection Laws designed to regulate religious conversion and interfaith marriage, and enforce monogamy and population-control measures, based on draft texts proposed by PAM members.[9][12] In March 2015, the country's lower house, the Pyithu Hluttaw, approved two of the bills.[13] The first of the 4 laws, which regulates population-control measures, was enacted in May 2015.[14]


In 2014, PAM members began a campaign against Ooredoo, a Qatar-based telecommunications company that had entered the country to build its cellular infrastructure.[10]

In 2016 supporters of Ma Ba Tha campaigned against the Rohingya on Facebook.[15]

Later activities

In May 2017, the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, which regulates the Buddhist clergy, ordered the group disbanded.[16] The group renamed itself as the Buddha Dhamma Charity Foundation, which was also outlawed, according to government officials.[17][18][clarification needed]

In June 2019, Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun donated 30 million kyats to the Buddha Dhamma Parahita Foundation, a successor group, after its members protested the government's lawsuit against their leader Wirathu.[19]

Pauk Ko Taw, a monk who helped organize Pyusawhti militias, assisted in a rally calling for the resignation of Min Aung Hlaing from the Tatmadaw on January 16, 2024. Junta authorities briefly questioned him on January 19, but did not pursue criminal charges.[20]

See also


  1. ^ Aung Kyaw Min (27 June 2014). "Ma Ba Tha monks declare political independence". Myanmar Times. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  2. ^ Nilsen, Marte (12 March 2015). "Buddhist nationalism threatens Myanmar's democratic transition". East Asia Forum. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  3. ^ a b Walton, Matthew J.; Hayward, Susan (2014). Contesting Buddhist narratives : democratization, nationalism, and communal violence in Myanmar. Honolulu: East-West Center. hdl:10125/35836. ISBN 9780866382526.
  4. ^ အောင်ကိုဦး (16 January 2014). "မျိုးစောင့်ဥပဒေ အတည်ပြုပြဋ္ဌာန်းသည်ထိ ဆောင်ရွက်မည်ဟု သံဃာ့ညီလာခံ ထုတ်ပြန်". Mizzima News (in Burmese). Archived from the original on 15 June 2015. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  5. ^ "Myanmar Buddhist Monks Launch Group for 'Defending Religion'". Radio Free Asia. 15 January 2014. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  6. ^ May Sitt Paing (10 September 2013). "Buddhist Committee's 969 Prohibitions Prompts Meeting of Movement Backers". The Irrawaddy. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  7. ^ "Keeping the Faith: A Study of Freedom of Thought, Conscience, and Religion in ASEAN" (PDF). Human Rights Resource Centre. University of Indonesia, Depok Campus. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  8. ^ "Militant Buddhist monks are stoking sectarian tensions in Myanmar". The Economist. 10 August 2017. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Burma: Drop Draft Religion Law". Human Rights Watch. 29 May 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  10. ^ a b Nyi Nyi Kyaw (15 May 2014). "Myanmar's Rising Buddhist Nationalism: Impact on Foreign Investors" (PDF). S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  11. ^ Aung Kyaw Min (30 August 2014). "Human rights less important than 'nationalism': senior monk". Myanmar Times. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  12. ^ Ei Ei Toe Lwin (5 December 2014). "President signs off on religious bills". Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  13. ^ Nobel Zaw (20 March 2015). "Lower House Approves Two 'Race and Religion' Bills". The Irrawaddy. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  14. ^ "Myanmar: UN rights experts express alarm at adoption of first of four 'protection of race and religion' bills". UN Human Rights. 27 May 2015. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  15. ^ Safis, Michael, Revealed: Facebook hate speech exploded in Myanmar during Rohingya crisis, The Guardian, 3 April 2018
  16. ^ "Buddhist Authorities Ban Myanmar's Ultranationalist Ma Ba Tha Group". Radio Free Asia. 23 May 2017. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  17. ^ Thu, Mratt Kyaw. "Ma Ba Tha ordered to cease all activities by State Sangha Committee". Frontier Myanmar. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  18. ^ Moe, Moe Kyaw. "Ma Ba Tha Changes Name, Still Officially Illegal". The Irrawaddy. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  19. ^ Htet Naing Zaw (19 June 2019). "Ma Ba Tha is a Necessity: Military". The Irrawaddy. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  20. ^ Nationalist Monk Briefly Detained After Joining Chant Calling for Myanmar’s Dictator to Step Down January 19, 2024. The Irrawaddy Archived January 19, 2024, at the Wayback Machine
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Patriotic Association of Myanmar
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