Muslims, Buddhists Getting to Know Each Other

October 11, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: MCOT English News

The southern region of Thailand is home to both Muslims and Buddhists, with the majority of ethnic Malay Muslims in provinces bordering Malaysia. An activity encouraging better understanding among the young followers of the two religions has been initiated and appears to be enjoying very pleasant feedback.

Prakru Sunthornkitjanuyok, deputy abbot of Tamod temple in Phatthalung province is explaining the way of life and practice of Buddhist monks to a group of Thai and international Muslim students.

Tamod sub-district is considered an ideal community where Muslims and Buddhists have lived in harmony for a hundred years.

Here, it's normal to see Buddhist villagers participating in Islamic rites while the Muslims listen to Buddhist sermons at temples. A joint Muslim-Buddhist merit-making ceremony is also held every year.

"Although there are more Buddhists than Muslims in our community, we as Buddhists always respect Islamic ways and consider Muslims as our brothers," said Prakru Sunthornkitjanuyok, Deputy abbot, Tamod temple.

With the ongoing violence in the three southern provinces bordering Malaysia leading to the death of about 3,500 people in the past four years, Prince of Songkhla University studies have found violence in part contributes to the misunderstandings between the young followers of the two religions.

For this reason the University has initiated the 'Muslims visit Buddhist temples and Buddhists visit Muslim mosques project', aimed at encouraging its students to respect religious diversity.