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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 15th April 2016 > KARMA POLICE


A Thai monk is using social media to preach violence against Muslims


PHRA APICHART PUNNAJANTO, the 30-yearold head preacher at Bangkok’s popular Marble Temple, tries to suppress a smile as he explains how very angry he is. The baby-faced monk pulls out documents, one after the other, and spreads them across the table. Next to him, a friend whom he has deputized to memorialize this interview snaps away on an expensive smartphone.

This, says Apichart, tapping on the paper, is a list of 20 monks killed and 24 injured since 2007 in Thailand’s deep south. An insurgency in the mainly Malay-Muslim region has been raging since 2004, and more than 6,500 people have been killed. Most of them were Muslim civilians, though the statistical disparity doesn’t bother him. The death of a single monk, says Apichart, is considered a religious attack. “I was stressed before, when monks got killed and injured,” he says. “Now it’s past that point—no stress, just revenge. This is why I said those things about burning the mosques: because I want revenge.”

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