Terror Threats Keep Monks Indoors

November 13, 2006

Source: Tricycle: the Buddhist Review


Don't look for Buddhist monks in the Narathiwat province of Thailand begging for alms on their morning rounds anymore. Once a familiar sight on the streets of cities and villages here, the monks will now only be found inside their temples. The reason is safety concerns stemming from terror threats: Buddhists, and especially monks, have become the target of attacks by Islamic insurgents in Thailand's most southern provinces, Songkhla, Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat. The decision to keep begging monks indoors was reached in a meeting of senior monks on the 10th of November. Alms-givers can enter the temple grounds and give to the monks there.

Thailand is largely a Buddhist nation but Muslims dominate the south, near the Malaysian border. Southern Thailand has been called the "weak underbelly" of terror in southeast Asia, in the wake of the Bali bombings, rumored to have been planned here, and other small-scale bombings throughout the region.