Thailand: Thailand votes against making Buddhism the national religion
"It is not appropriate to register Buddhism as a national religion in the constitution simply because we will lose more than we gain from it," said Jaran Pakdithanakul, a member of the constitution drafting body.
The vote sparked an outcry by hundreds of Buddhists, including monks, who have been staging an around-the-clock rally outside Parliament. They threatened to vote against the constitution when it is submitted to a national referendum, probably in September.
They say that Buddhism has been under threat by an Islamic separatist insurgency in the country's Muslim-dominated southern provinces, and its official recognition is necessary to guarantee it will continue to be the country's main religion. Southern Muslims have long complained of discrimination in the Buddhist-dominated country.
29 June 2007
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