Thailand Says No To A State Religion

Despite the fact that 90% of Thailand is Buddhist, the government rejected proposals to enshrine Buddhism as the state religion. Some monks have been on a hunger strike insisting the government move in this direction. Thailand’s southern three provinces contain a population in which a majority is Muslim. The area is the scene of violent conflict in which Muslim insurgents are fighting the Thailand army and attempting to disrupt schools that teach a secular approach to life.

Had Thailand made Buddhism its official religion there is no doubt more violence would have erupted in the southern provinces. Thailand has to move toward ending discrimination against Muslims, offering local autonomy, and gaining public support to crush terrorist groups. Military action alone can never crush a local insurgency, it requires support from the population.