Buddhists Take Up Arms in Thailand

Reporting for Newsweek/Daily Beast, Brendan Brady finds A deadly Thai insurgency has Buddhists scrambling for guns:  “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.'” … Even Buddhist temples have become militarized, Brady reports. “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.’” …

“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 [Srisompob Jitpiromsri, the head of Deep South Watch], might be only that they will be forced to double down on it. ‘Die-hard is their mentality.’”