MUSLIM HATE OF BUDDHISTS!
Buddhist woman imprisoned for complaining about mosque's speaker
The Jakarta Post
Jakarta | Tue, August 21, 2018
Chinese-Indonesian woman of the Buddhist faith has been sentenced to
1.5 years in prison for complaining about the volume of the azan
(Islamic call to prayer) that was blasted from a speaker of a mosque
near her house.
Meiliana, 44, a resident of Tanjung Balai, North Sumatra, was found
guilty of blasphemy as stipulated under articles 156 and 156A of the
Criminal Code on blasphemy, the Medan District Court said on Tuesday.
“[We] declare that the defendant is legally and compellingly proven
guilty of […] committing blasphemy against a certain religion that is
professed in Indonesia,” presiding judge Wahyu Prasetyo Wibowo said.
“[We] sentenced the defendant to one and a half years in prison.”
Meiliana is one of the first people to have been sentenced to prison
for complaining about the volume of a mosque's speakers, despite a plea
from the Indonesian Mosque Council, now led by Vice President Jusuf
Kalla, for mosque staff to use loudspeakers wisely.
Meiliana reportedly said the azan was “too loud” and “hurt” her ears, and asked a neighbor to lower the speaker’s volume.
Her remark, made in 2016, is believed to have triggered the worst
anti-Chinese riot in the country since 1998, with Muslims who claimed
to have been offended by her words burning several Buddhist temples.
During the riot, the angry mob destroyed prayer equipment, Buddha
statues, tables, chairs, lamps and several cars and motorbikes, the
The police arrested 19 people for their role in the riot. Eight were
charged with looting, nine with malicious destruction of property and
two with inciting violence. All were given one to four month jail
Meiliana's lawyer, Ranto Sibarani, said they would appeal the verdict.
"We will appeal the verdict because the judges could not prove that our
client has committed blasphemy," he told The Jakarta Post over the
Human rights activists have criticized the law enforcers for
prosecuting Meiliana, saying that the case should have been settled out
“This is an old case that was brought up again,” M. Isnur from the
Indonesian Legal Aid Institute (YLBHI) told the Post recently, adding
that public pressure was likely the main driver of her prosecution.
“In a blasphemy case like this, [law enforcement officials] often listen to the MUI’s fatwas.”
Meiliana is the latest individual prosecuted under the nation’s
controversial blasphemy laws, under which dozens of people have been
sent to prison, including former Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja
Terror strikes Bodh Gaya, serial blasts rock Mahabodhi Temple
Law Kumar Mishra & Abdul Qadir,
Jul 7, 2013
The Times of India
GAYA: Terror struck the temple town of Bodh Gaya in Bihar, as nine
serial explosions rocked the Mahabodhi Temple complex on Sunday morning.
tourists, including a monk from Myanmar, have been injured in the
blasts. The injured are being treated at the Anugrah Narain Magadh
Medical College hospital.
Union home secretary Anil Goswami confirmed that the Bodh Gaya blasts were a terror attack.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar strongly condemned the serial blasts
in and around the temple and demanded deployment of the Central
Industrial Security Force (CISF) to protect the world famous Buddhist
Bihar Police suspect the involvement of Indian Mujahideen in the temple blasts.
serial blasts deserve strongest condemnation in strongest possible
words as the perpetrators targeted the place of religious faith of
crores of people with an aim to create fear among them," he told
reporters after inspecting the blast sites at the Mahabodhi temple and
surrounding areas in Gaya district with senior civil and police
chief minister said that the NIA and local police will probe the
incident and expose the conspiracy and designs of those behind the
however, dismissed suggestions that there was any security lapse and
said adequate precautionary measures were taken to beef up security
measures at the Mahabodhi temple and surrounding areas in the wake of
arrived at Bodh Gaya by a helicopter from Patna with chief secretary AK
Sinha and director general of police (DGP) Abhayanand.
He visited the Mahabodhi temple and took a first-hand stock of situation at the blast sites.
BJP activists led by former minister Prem Kumar greeted Nitish Kumar with 'go back' slogans outside the temple main gate.
JD(U) workers present there raised pro-Nitish slogans and countered the protesting BJP workers.
to Gaya Police, the blasts took place in quick succession between
5.30am and 6am in the temple complex and near the Mahabodhi tree.
of the blasts took place just under the enlightenment tree causing
partial damage to the Buddha footprints in the shrine premises.
blasts took place inside the shrine premises, while another three
blasts took place in the Tregar monastery premises. The Tregar
monastery belongs to the Karmapa, the second most important spiritual
One blast each took place at the great Buddha statue and a bus parked on the Sujata bypass.
Singh, a member of Mahabodhi Temple Management Commitee said two other
bombs, one near the 80 feet statue and one at bus stand have been
Cops have sealed the entry routes to the shrine. A NIA team is expected to arrive shortly for the probe.
"A team of NIA officers is coming to Bodh Gaya from Kolkata," DIG special branch Parasnath said.
The DIG said, "The sanctum sanctorum of the Mahabodhi Temple is intact. The temple premises have been sanitised."
secretary of the Bodh Gaya committee Dorji said, "There were four
blasts inside the temple premises. Fortunately, there was no damage to
the Bodhi Tree or the main temple structure."
the first blast which took place near the Bodhi tree, a table was blown
up because of which two persons were injured. The second blast, I
think, was inside the enclosure where books were kept. The furniture
was damaged but there was no damage to the monuments or statues," he
Asked about the nature of explosives used, S K Bharadwaj, ADG (Law and Order) said they were low intensity time bombs.
said, "We got information about six-seven months back that there may be
a terror attack on the Mahabodhi temple. After that we had beefed up
secuirty and deployed extra forces".
Gaya Buddhist temple, around 10 km from Gaya and 100 km from capital
Patna, is world famous. Lord Buddha had attained enlightenment here
under the Mahabodhi tree in the temple premises.
spiritual leader the Dalai Lama makes frequent trips to Bodh Gaya and
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa had visited it six months back.
A total of 52 countries have established their monasteries here.
Myanmar’s army takes control of central city, imposing tense calm after violence kills dozens
By Associated Press, Published: March 22, 2013
MEIKHTILA, Myanmar — Myanmar’s army took control of a ruined central
city on Saturday, imposing a tense calm after clashes between Buddhists
and Muslims left piles of corpses in the streets and buildings ablaze
in the worst sectarian bloodshed to hit the Southeast Asian nation this
Truckloads of soldiers patrolled Meikhtila, taking up positions at
intersections and banks as authorities delivered food and water to some
6,000 displaced Muslims who fled to makeshift camps at a local stadium
and a police station. The government put the death toll at 32,
according to state television, which reported that bodies had been
found as authorities began cleaning up the area on Saturday.
President Thein Sein, a former general who vowed to bring democracy to
Myanmar after half a century of military rule, imposed a state of
emergency in the region Friday in a bid to end clashes that began two
The unrest was the first of its kind in the country since two similar
episodes shook western Rakhine state last year, and the spread of
sectarian conflict has underscored both the challenges of reform and
the government’s failure to rein in anti-Muslim sentiment in a
predominantly Buddhist nation. Even monks have armed themselves and
taken advantage of newfound freedoms to stage anti-Muslim rallies.
It was not immediately clear which side bore the brunt of the latest
unrest, but at least five mosques were torched, and terrified Muslims,
who make up about 30 percent of Meikhtila’s 100,000 inhabitants, have
stayed off the streets as their shops and homes burned and Buddhist
mobs carrying machetes and hammers tried to stop firefighters from
dousing the flames.
Residents complained that police had stood by and done little to stop
the mayhem. But “calm has been restored since troops took charge of
security,” said Win Htein, an opposition lawmaker from Meikhtila.
Some residents, who had cowered indoors since the mayhem began Wednesday, emerged from their homes to inspect the destruction.
Little appeared to be left of some palm tree-lined neighborhoods,
though, where the legs of victims could be seen poking out from
smoldering masses of twisted debris and ash. Broken glass, charred cars
and motorcycles and overturned tables littered roads beside rows of
burned-out homes and shops, evidence of the widespread chaos that swept
Local businessman San Hlaing said he counted 28 bodies this week, all
men, piled in groups around the town, including beside a highway.
The struggle to contain the violence has proven another major challenge
to Thein Sein’s reformist administration, which has also faced an
upsurge in fighting with ethnic Kachin rebels in the north and major
protests at a northern copper mine where angry residents — emboldened
by promises of freedom of expression — have come out to denounce land
The devastation was reminiscent of last year’s clashes between ethnic
Rakhine Buddhists and Muslim Rohingya that left hundreds of people dead
and more than 100,000 displaced — almost all of them Muslim. The
Rohingya are widely perceived as illegal migrants and foreigners from
Bangladesh; the Muslim population of Meikhtila is believed to be mostly
of Indian origin.
This week’s chaos began Wednesday after an argument broke out between a
Muslim gold shop owner and his Buddhist customers. Once news spread
that a Muslim man had killed a Buddhist monk, Buddhist mobs rampaged
through a Muslim neighborhood and the situation quickly spiraled out of
Residents and activists said the police did little to stop the rioters
or reacted too slowly, allowing the violence to escalate. “They were
like scarecrows in a paddy field,” San Hlaing said.
Khin Maung Swe, a 72-year-old Muslim lawyer who said he lost all his
savings, also complained authorities did nothing to disperse the mobs.
“If the military and police had showed up in force, those troublemakers
would have run away,” he said, inspecting the remains of his damaged
home. “There would have been no violence if the security forces had
just fired shots into the air to scare them away.”
San Htwe, a 39-year-old housewife, said she could see police and
soldiers “everywhere” in Meikhtila on Saturday but did not feel at
ease. “I’m afraid that the situation will be like in Rakhine” — where
sectarian tensions have split an entire state and Buddhist and Muslim
communities live in near-total segregation, constantly fearing more
San Htwe said her 8-year-old son was already traumatized by the riots
and could barely eat. “Whenever he hears shouting, he says, in panic,
‘Mom, let’s run! The kalar are coming.” Kalar is a derogatory word for
“I think most children here have experienced trauma,” she said. “I worry that it will remain in their minds forever.”
Residents said rescue workers and volunteers were arriving from other
towns to help, and that local Buddhists were giving food and water to
displaced Muslims. Some Buddhists sought shelter at local monasteries.
In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the
U.S. was deeply concerned about communal violence, loss of life and
property damage in Meikhtila, and that U.S. Ambassador Derek Mitchell
had raised the concerns with senior Myanmar government officials.
“We welcome and encourage the efforts of government authorities,
community leaders, civil society and political party leaders to restore
calm, to foster dialogue and increase tolerance in a manner that
respects human rights and due process of law,” Nuland told a news
Occasional isolated violence involving Myanmar’s majority Buddhist and
minority Muslim communities has occurred for decades, even under the
authoritarian military governments that ruled the country from 1962 to
Iran confiscates Buddha statues to stop promotion of Buddhism
By Associated Press, Published: February 17, 2013
TEHRAN, Iran — An Iranian newspaper is reporting that government
authorities are confiscating Buddha statues from shops in Tehran to
stop the promotion of Buddhism in the country.
Sunday’s report by the independent Arman daily quotes Saeed Jaberi
Ansari, an official for the protection of Iran’s cultural heritage, as
saying that authorities will not permit a specific belief to be
promoted through such statues.
Ansari called the Buddha statues symbols of “cultural invasion.”
He did not elaborate on how many have been confiscated so far, but said more would be seized from shops.
Iran has long fought against items, such as Barbie dolls and Simpsons
cartoon characters, to defuse Western influence, but this appears to be
the first time that Iranian authorities are showing an opposition to
symbols from the East.
Thailand’s Buddhists Take Up Arms Against Insurgency
Apr 16, 2012 12:00 AM EDT
A deadly Thai insurgency has Buddhists scrambling for guns.
A few hours’ drive from the white-sand beaches of
Phuket—one of the world’s top tourist destinations—a deadly insurgency
is terrorizing Thailand’s south. The separatist movement, made up of
mostly ethnic-Malay Muslims, roils the region with daily threats of
sectarian violence and has prompted many Buddhist villagers, and even
some monks, to take up arms in self-defense. A series of coordinated
bombings across two provinces on March 31 alone left 14 dead and
The conflict has been gaining steam over the past eight
years, even as the international community pays little attention. Since
2004, drive-by shootings, IED bombings, and point-blank assassinations
have claimed some 5,000 lives in the country’s three restive
southernmost provinces that border Malaysia, making the insurgency one
of the world’s deadliest.
The insurgent groups rally around the belief that
the provinces—where ethnic Malay Muslims are the majority—should be
independent of Thailand, where more than 90 percent of the rest of the
population is Buddhist. The insurgents’ preferred targets are
Buddhists, especially those in the security forces or government,
though they also kill fellow Muslims accused of not aligning with the
separatist cause. They claim to have cells in 90 percent of southern
villages; the boast, say security experts, is legitimate.
Even as a force of some 60,000 soldiers and
police patrol the area, the insurgents have succeeded in spreading
their network across the disputed territory, cultivating an atmosphere
of perpetual insecurity for Buddhist communities living there. “First
Muslim people came to our village and asked to buy our land,” says
Suphorn Nison, a soft-spoken Buddhist in his mid-40s. “But they became
less diplomatic when Buddhist people declined to leave.” The following
month, Nison says, two men entered a convenience store operated by
Nison’s father and executed him with two shots to his head. Nison
claims the gunmen were Muslim and intended to send a stern message.
Most Buddhists in his village left, but those who stayed, including
Nison, formed a neighborhood-security force.
That was in 2006. Today such community-defense
units are ubiquitous in Thailand’s south. Nison carries a revolver with
him at all times. Many other Buddhists have also armed themselves,
including a demure 38-year-old teacher, an acquaintance of Nison’s, who
prefers a light Glock .22. While village-defense forces, or Chor Ror
Bor, also operate in Muslim communities, they are often given fewer and
inferior weapons than their Buddhist counterparts, and don’t receive
the same level of support from the Thai Army and police, says Rungrawee
Chalermsripinyorat, an analyst at the International Crisis Group, a
nonprofit that studies ways to prevent conflicts.
Other village-defense groups are explicitly restricted
to Buddhists—chief among them, the Or Ror Bor, a system initiated by
Thailand’s queen. During a trip south in 2005, two members of her
security entourage were gunned down by separatists. She urged Buddhists
in the region to remain on their lands and take weapons training. The
queen also initiated land grants to encourage Buddhists from other
parts of the country to move south.
Amid the violence, security measures have also
transformed Buddhist temples. Many government troops in the deep south
are based on the sprawling, walled-in temple grounds. Soldiers protect
monks and worshippers from insurgent attacks, while benefiting from the
monasteries’ existing infrastructure. Buddhist insecurity has even
spawned soldier monks—new Army recruits who are pulled aside by
superiors and offered a chance to become ordained monks so that they
can eventually move to monasteries in the contested provinces and serve
as hybrid servants of the state, according to U.S. academic Michael
Jerryson. He has dedicated months of field research to the phenomenon,
which he says was conceived by the queen.
Monks interviewed in the region today are
uncomfortable discussing the soldier-monk practice, which they say has
been discontinued. But many of the state’s security measures in the
deep south are still channeled through Buddhists and Buddhist spaces,
an approach that many analysts say has exacerbated sectarian divisions.
“We’ve been saying it’s problematic. It’s like you’re arming people
from one religion against another,” says the Crisis Group’s
Chalermsripinyorat. Jerryson makes a bolder claim: official policies
have generated a Buddhist militant movement in its own right.
“International and Thai analysts largely overlook the Buddhists’ call
to arms when they attempt to explain the spikes of violence in the
war-torn region,” Jerryson writes in his book Buddhist Fury: Religion
and Violence in Southern Thailand, published last year. Groups such as
Amnesty International have documented cases of soldiers bringing
suspected insurgents to temple-housed bases to interrogate, torture,
and even execute them. And Chor Ror Bor units have been suspected of
engaging in vigilante justice.
Abdul Khodet Daman, a 46-year-old Malay Muslim rubber
tapper in the southern province of Yala, believes he’s a victim of the
sort of Buddhist militancy identified by Jerryson. He says that he was
attacked by a man in an Army uniform, who shot him in the neck in a
rampage last year. Four were killed in the attack and 16 were injured,
including Daman. He believes the suspect—a 25-year-old soldier alleged
to have been motivated by the murder of his brother—was abetted by a
Chor Ror Bor unit in an adjacent village, which includes a number of
new residents who immigrated as part of the queen’s land-grant program.
For others, such incidents obscure an equally
harsh reality: the insurgency has put the region’s Buddhists on the
defensive, with no end to the violence in sight. HuaHui, a long-bearded
villager, exemplifies the kind of self-appointed power that the militia
system offers Buddhists. At the entrance to his restaurant, he sits
behind a makeshift bunker, holding an M-15 assault rifle. He keeps a
cache of weapons on hand, along with special bullets designed to
overcome “the voodoo of insurgents.” He’s been the target of drive-by
shootings and bomb attacks more than a dozen times, he says. In the
latest incident, “a month ago gunfire struck guests.” HuaHui sometimes
patrols his district in a pickup truck, paying visits to friends—both
Muslim and Buddhist—and making his presence felt to those he suspects
of being on the “wrong side.” He visited a group of Chor Ror Bor in a
nearby village who said the hordes of Army and police are not enough to
secure the area. Later that evening, cars passing along the entry road
to the village were struck by IEDs and gunfire.
Srisompob Jitpiromsri, the head of Deep South
Watch, a Pattani-based group that tracks the area’s sectarian violence,
says temple defenses and village militias serve a legitimate defensive
purpose. But, he says, they also create backlash by helping insurgents
convince Malay Muslim communities that Buddhists and the Thai state are
fundamentally aligned against them.
His concern is catching on among some monks in
the area. The abbot of one southern village recently asked soldiers
stationed inside his temple to relocate. “It affected our image.
Buddhism is a peaceful religion, and a temple must remain a peaceful
place.” Analysts say the military commander in charge of operations in
the deep south plans to shift troops out of temples and schools as part
of a broader attempt to demilitarize the region’s public spaces. But,
facing shadowy and omnipresent insurgents who are increasingly brazen
in their methods, Buddhist communities may be less likely to move away
from firepower. The consequences of their position, worries
Jitpiromsri, might be only that they will be forced to double down on
it. “Die-hard is their mentality.”
Reporting for this story was supported by the
Fund for Investigative Journalism. Brendan Brady reports from across
Asia on diplomacy, human rights, religion, business, and environmental
Buddhist worker beheaded in
Thai Muslim south
06 Jun 2005
June 6 (Reuters) - A Buddhist has been beheaded in Muslim-majority
southern Thailand, police said on Monday, the fourth decapitation of a
Buddhist since violence erupted in the region 18 months ago.
Police found the body of the 59-year-old rubber plantation employee at his hut in Yaha district of Yala province late on Sunday.
believe it must have been the work of those militants," a police
officer said by telephone, declining to give further details of the
incident in the largely Malay-speaking region, where more than 700
people have died in the violence.
No group has claimed responsibility for the violence.
The Muslim-majority region has a century-long history of violent separatism from Bangkok.
first Buddhist rubber tapper was decapitated in May last year. His
killers left a note saying they had acted in revenge for the arrest of
November, two Buddhist men were beheaded in revenge for the deaths of
85 Muslim protesters in army custody, most of them by suffocation a
policemen and two civilians were wounded on Monday when a 5 kg (11 lbs)
bomb hidden in a motorcycle and triggered by a mobile phone went off in
a park in the nearby tourist town of Sungai Kolok as people were
Late on Sunday, militants blew up a power transmitter, blacking out the city of Yaha, police said.
government in the mostly Buddhist country has imposed martial law in
parts of the provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, which all
border Malaysia, at the same time as offering lavish development aid
and regional assistance.
neither the iron first or olive branch approach seems to have made any
impact. Shootings, bombings and arson attacks mainly against official,
Buddhist targets have become daily occurrences.
Violence Aimed at
Driving out Buddhists, Says Thaksin
AP Writer/Bangkok, Thailand
June 23, 2005
of gruesome beheadings and other killings in southern Thailand are part of a
campaign by Islamic separatists to scare off the minority Buddhist population
and to show that they can still carry out attacks despite a government
crackdown, Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said Thursday.
insurgents decapitated a man at a teashop Wednesday in one of the boldest
attacks since the Muslim-majority provinces near Malaysia erupted in violence
last year. It was the fifth beheading in recent weeks and apparently the first
to be carried out in broad daylight.
called an emergency meeting with security forces Thursday to discuss the
continuing attacks in Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat.
880 people have been killed over the past 17 months in attacks generally blamed
on the revival of a long-dormant secessionist movement.
insurgents) have been beheading innocent people to show they are still capable
of creating violence," Thaksin told reporters. "They try to make (Buddhist)
people scared so they will run away from the region because they want to seize
that the insurgents had launched the attacks "out of desperation because several
of their leaders have been arrested."
administration has been criticized for taking an overbearing approach to the
unrest by posting thousands of troops and imposing martial law in the region.
Muslim clerics have complained of soldiers showing disrespect for Islamic
traditions in their drive to root out suspects.
Thaksin has conceded failures in his government's handling of the south and
pledged to try conciliatory means to resolve the conflict.
Thani Thawitsri, the deputy regional police commander for the southern
provinces, said the beheadings had become a pattern and that they were intended
"to create chaos and scare people away from the region."
He said it
remained unclear whether the Thai separatists were trying to imitate Iraqi
insurgents, who have beheaded several foreign hostages since the US invasion of
their country two years ago, because there is a history of such killings in
two female Western missionaries were decapitated on a mountain in Narathiwat
province that was a stronghold for Muslim separatists at the time, he noted.
separatists waged a low-level campaign in the southern provinces for decades
before largely dispersing after a government amnesty in the 1980s.
Thai Muslims have long complained of discrimination, particularly in jobs and
Abdulsamad, chairman of the Islamic Council of Narathiwat, said the beheadings
had sparked fear among local people and threatened to turn the region into a
say who is the real culprit of this brutal killing," he said. "When you talk to
local people, they believe the authorities did it. But when we talk to
authorities, they say the terrorists did it."
Buddhists flee Thailand’s south
Thousands of Buddhist teachers and residents are fleeing Thailand’s Muslim south
as 19 months of anti-government violence shows no sign of slackening, officials
teachers were expected to move to safer provinces after at least two dozen of
their colleagues were among nearly 800 people killed by militants since violence
erupted in the largely Malay-speaking region in January last year, they said.
As incentives to stay, the Education Ministry is offering 3,000 free flak
jackets and faster licenses for 1,700 teachers waiting to buy guns in the most
dangerous parts of the three provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat.
their best friends,” Deputy Education Minister Rung Kaewdaeng told reporters in
Bangkok after visiting some of the 20,000 teachers in the region.
who survived are those who returned fire on their attackers.”
Education Minister Adisak Bodharamik gave teachers wanting to move out a week to
register and vowed to provide more security for those who wanted to stay.
Ministry data showed about 1,000 teachers have already left the region, where
schools have been frequent militant targets as symbols of the government of
predominantly Buddhist Thailand in faraway Bangkok.
applications from teachers who routinely go to and from school with military
escorts were awaiting approval.
shootings and arson attacks directed at state buildings or workers — Buddhist
and Muslim — have become daily occurences despite more than 30,000 troops and
police patrolling the region of fewer than 2mn people.
has imposed martial law on parts of the region, where separatists fought low-key
insurgencies in the 1970s and 1980s.
is unabated with nine people beheaded — in killings some top officials say have
been inspired by Iraqi insurgents — in recent months and officials say thousands
of locally-born people, many of them Buddhists, have moved out.
data showed almost 15,000 people left between January 2004 and April 2005. In
2003, 22,000 moved in.
teachers leaving the far south would be replaced by volunteer and temporary
teachers and the ministry would seek loans for teachers to buy guns to protect
or saving your life, which one would you choose,” Rung replied when asked if
encouraging teachers to take on more debt was a good idea.
was beheaded yesterday in troubled southern Thailand, the first member of the
security forces to be decapitated in a string of such brutal attacks over the
past month, police said.
The body of
44-year-old Sergeant Samphan Onyala, who was on duty but plainclothed, was found
just after 8pm (1300 GMT) in Yarang district of Pattani province.
heard gunshots and informed police, who went to the scene and found Sergeant
Samphan shot once and with his head cut off,” a police officer in Yarang said.
body was found close to his motorcycle while authorities were still searching
for the head, he added.
4 Buddhists shot dead in Thailand`s restive south
Dec 02: Four Buddhists were shot dead on Saturday in Buddhist-majority
Thailand's restive, Muslim-dominated south, as the government warned it may have
to change its strategy to counter the rising violence.
A gunman posing as a customer whipped out a gun and shot a 59-yar-old food
vendor in Pattani province in front of dozens of horrified bystanders, police Lt
Wichathon Timkrom said.
In nearby Yala Provine, gunmen killed a 34-year-old truck driver as he rode his
motorcycle with his wife, Police Lt Prasom Laungphu said. His wife was not hurt.
Two other Buddhists were shot dead today in Narathiwat province, police said.
Gunmen fired into a grocery store in Rueso district, killing its owner Wanna
Ongananurak, 35, and a second woman who was as yet unidentified, police said.
Thailand's military-installed government has pledged to make peace in the south
a priority, and to reverse the hardline policies of former Prime Minister
Thaksin Shinawtra, who was deposed by a coup September 19.
But with daily killings continuing unabated, Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont
said today the government may have to change course if the situation does not
"My government is insisting on a peaceful solution to resolve the problem, but
if the situation is not improved in (the) next three months, the government may
have to adjust the strategy," Surayud said, without elaborating.
More than 1,800 people have died from violence in predominantly Buddhist
Thailand's three southernmost, Muslim-majority provinces - Yala, Pattani and
Narathiwat - since an Islamic insurgency flared in January 2004.
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