The conflict in western Burma’s Rakhine State erupted last June, when reports spread that a Buddhist woman was raped and murdered by three Rohingya men. Shortly after, a mob of Buddhists exacted retribution by pulling over a bus carrying Muslims and beating 10 passengers to death. The incidents ignited sectarian violence throughout the state. ...
A few hours’ drive from the white-sand beaches of Phuket, a deadly insurgency is terrorizing Thailand’s south. The separatist movement, made up of mostly ethnic-Malay Muslims, roils the region with daily threats of sectarian violence and has prompted many Buddhist villagers, and even some monks, to take up arms in self-defense.
Since 2004, drive-by shootings, IED bombings and point-blank assassinations have claimed some 5,000 lives in Thailand's three restive southernmost provinces that border Malaysia, making the insurgency one of the world’s deadliest.
Monk Forest is one of 13 community forests totaling more than 250 square miles in Odder Meanchey province whose value in fighting climate change is being marketed in an international exchange of what are called avoided deforestation carbon credits.
Sorng Rukavorn forest became a prized prayer ground at the turn of the century, when a senior Buddhist monk sought an undisturbed location for his disciples. Instead of living in peaceful isolation, however, the monks have had to fend off illegal loggers and corrupt local officials.
I had traveled to Ratanakiri — a sparsely populated province of hills, forests and plantations in the northeastern corner of Cambodia — to witness Muslim and Christian missionaries proselytizing among the indigenous hill tribes, who, traditionally, are animists.
On the occasion of Imam San's birthday, the sect that emerged from his early followers gathers in the former royal city of Udong to honor his memory through prayer and offerings. The colorful mawlut ceremony reaffirms the sect's privileged heritage and its continued isolation from the rest of the country's Islamic community.