‘Buddhism under threat’: Thai election gives platform to radicals

By Panu Wongcha-um | Reuters

PATHUM THANI, Thailand (Reuters) – A clothing and cosmetics model and a former monk are campaigning together for Thailand’s election at a market outside Bangkok. The message: Buddhism is under threat.

Their politics marks a new trend in traditionally tolerant Thailand, where Buddhist nationalist movements have never taken root in the same way as in countries such as Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

Buddhism is one of the traditional pillars of Thai society and underpins many aspects of Thai life, but monks have little influence over the state compared to the monarchy and military.