Buddhist Fury: Religion and Violence in Southern Thailand

By Michael K. Jerryson | Go to book overview

Conclusion

On a hot October morning in 2008, classes at a public school in Yarang District, Pattani, ended for the day and Muslim and Buddhist students poured out of the classrooms. It was the beginning of their school break. There would have been nothing unusual about this except that police and soldiers kept watch from their posts around the school. While this might have been abnormal in other parts of Thailand, this was a normal scene in the three southernmost provinces. What was not normal, however, was the school’s location—inside a wat.

In 2008, Wat Amphūanārām was one of only two wat in Yarang District that had a school for Muslims. Each of the two schools received financial support from the government as well as from the wat. The Rōngrīenchumchonwatamph ūānārām school at Wat Amphūanārām included both elementary and secondary education (rōngrīenprathom and rōngrīenmathayom, respectively) and had a total of 425 students, 97% of which were Muslim. Ačhān Tat, the abbot of Wat Amphūanārām, was ordained at the age of twenty-five in his home province of Songkhla and has lived in Yarang District for over fifty years. In October of 2008, he was eighty-five years old. He had a hard time walking and suffered from a bad cold. Ačhān Tat also had trouble projecting his voice, so with the assistance of a retired soldier, he explained the situation at the wat

This school is supported by the wat. Because most of the children are
Muslim, they come here to study. There are between 400–500 Muslim
students, and we can say that there are only 10 Buddhist students to
about 390 Muslim students. But, it is fine for them; they get along well
with the teachers here. There are teachers who are government officials,
and there are temporary teachers as well. Due to this serious situation,
most government teachers moved to other schools, so we had to hire
Muslim teachers to teach the students.1

Ačhān Tat is not engaged in the school’s day-to-day activities, nor does he have any official duties at the school, but he does offer scholarships to the school and occasionally meets with the teachers and local imams.

-178-

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Buddhist Fury: Religion and Violence in Southern Thailand
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures and Tables vii
  • Introduction 3
  • 1 - Histories 28
  • 2 - Representation 50
  • 3 - Practice 82
  • 4 - Militarization 114
  • 5 - Identity 143
  • Conclusion 178
  • Appendix 187
  • Notes 189
  • Bibliography 233
  • Index 249
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