Buddhist monks have traveled to Thailand’s Muslim South, con-vinced that their very presence will inspire Jihadis to quit killing.Â
* The naivetÃ© of the monks is astounding. Many of them are sure to be killed, and yet they are courageous enough to march to their death like sheep to the slaughter.
(The picture shows how things went the last time around).
By Ambika Ahuja/AP Writer/Bangkok
Hundreds of yellow-robed Buddhist monks arrived in Muslim-dominated southern Thailand o n Wednesday at the start of Buddhist Lent in the hope their presence will promote peace in the insurgency-wracked region.
Buddhist Lentâ€”a three-month periodâ€”marks the beginning of the rainy season in Thailand, a time when villagers present offerings of food and flowers to monks who must remain o n temple grounds. The age-old practice is traditionally to prevent them from trampling new plants and insects.
“The 346 monks will spend this time in various temples in the area to boost morale among the Buddhist population there and to bring a message of peace to a place torn apart by the insurgency,” said Air Force Commander Chalit Pukbhasuk who saw the monks off from Bangkok.
The monks traveled by air force plane to the south and will be spending their time at temples in Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, Thailand’s three southernmost provinces where 2,300 have been killed since an Islamic insurgency flared in January 2004.
Bombings and drive-by shootings are a near-daily occurrence in the region, and while initially Buddhists were the main targets, Muslims are also coming under attack.
Authorities will provide security for the monks with 24-hour patrolling of temple grounds and surrounding areas, said army spokesman Col Akara Thiprote.
Last year, Buddhist monks in Narathiwat halted their alms-seeking rituals after coming under fire, and some Buddhist temples became military barracks and heavily guarded fortresses.
* The question is not whether the monks will be attacked, simply how many will be killed…Â
7/29/07 ( Mogadishu, Somalia ) – Two civilians are killed when Islamic radicals throw grenades into the electronics area of a market.
7/28/07 ( Al Bureij, Pal. Auth. ) – A young woman is stabbed to death over ‘immoral behavior.’
7/28/07 ( Narathiwat, Thailand ) – A 38-year-old mother of three succumbs to her injuries three days after a Religion of Peace bomb attack.
7/28/07 ( Maidan, Pakistan ) – Three policemen are brutally murdered by Islamic militants in an ambush.
7/28/07 ( Baghdad, Iraq ) – Sunnis set off a car bomb in a commercial district, killing five people.
7/28/07 ( Islamabad, Pakistan ) – A Fedayeen suicide bomber kills at least fourteen in an attack on a hotel.