In Thailand, the provinces of Yala, Pattani, parts of Songkhla and Narathiwat have witnessed the resurgence of violence since 2004. Allegations have been made that the separatist Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) has conducted attacks on the majority of Buddhist population living in Thailand.
For Patani’s identity, Islam plays a crucial role. In 1902, the kingdom of Patani was annexed by Thailand and still, now the regions hold back its distinct identity, religion, culture, and customs.
Violence re-emerged 14 years back and since then 7,000 people have died and more than 12,500 are injured. Despite all the domestic and international efforts, there is no end to the conflict which is more than 100 years old. Phra Visuddho strongly believes in the co-existential policies of the Thai government. But some people have dubbed this approach as ‘Thaification’ or forced assimilation.
Visuddho believes that the change must come from the Muslims in the Thai community. They should accept the ideas of co-existence and tolerance.
Visuddho feels that the separatist’s methods are becoming very brutal and are targeting the Buddhist school teachers in particular. When the Buddhist community went to find out a solution to this problem, the answer they found out was violence. Visudhho is pretty insubstantial and nonchalant. Love and understanding are the two most important principles of Buddhism. The monks are trying to decrease the tensions between the two religious sects.
Buddhism only supports other religions but it does not impose anything on the others. Buddhism wants balance among all.
Unless the minorities are not given space to express their faith, language and culture, peace among the various ethnic and religious groups in Southeast Asia cannot be attained.
The Thai Muslims and Buddhists must look into their own selves to find an appropriate solution.