Buddhist-Muslim Interfaith Service Held in Response to Recent Violence

May 4, 2004

Source: The Star


On May 4, 2004 The Star reported, "Buddhist monks and Muslim clerics held an interfaith ceremony Tuesday at an army camp to pray for peace in southern Thailand where 112 people, mostly Muslims, were killed last week in the country's worst bloodshed in recent times. Thailand has sent hundreds of reinforcement troops, with 700 arriving Tuesday, to help secure the Muslim-dominated region following the clashes. Scores of suspected militants, mostly young men armed with machetes, attacked police and army posts in early-morning raids last Wednesday that drew an overwhelming response from the Buddhist-dominated government. Three policemen and two soldiers were killed, but the retaliatory fire - condemned by human rights groups as excessive - left 107 suspected militants dead including 32 hiding inside a mosque in Pattani. 'It's good that the two religions have come together today for this ceremony,' said cleric Abdulsamad bin Mama. The army organized Tuesday's joint blessing ceremony at the Ingkayut Boriharn army camp outside Pattani to assuage public anger among the southern Muslims. Nine yellow-robed Buddhist monks sat cross-legged on a platform in a room and chanted prayers for the dead. In another room, nine Muslim clerics dressed in white recited verses from the Quran. Later scores of Muslims, plus government and security officials, gathered on a lawn for a mass prayer."