• photo from Aphichat Promjan

Anti-Islam extremist monk forced to disrobe

national September 21, 2017 09:00

By The Nation

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Extremist anti-Islam monk Phra Apichart Punnajanto, who last month posted online videos that harshly condemn Islam, was forced to disrobe on Wednesday.

Apichart was arrested at a temple in Songkhla on Tuesday and detained for interrogation by police at a military camp.

He was then brought to be defrocked at Wat Benchamabophit, or the Marble Temple, in Bangkok where he was head of monk preachers.

It was believed that the monk was taken into custody because of videos he had posted online.

In 2015, Phra Apichart made headlines for using his Facebook account to urge Buddhists to burn one mosque for every monk killed by southern insurgents.

“If a Buddhist monk dies from being shot at, or from an explosion in the South at the hands of Malayu bandits, a mosque should be burned, starting from the northern part of Thailand southwards,” he posted.

The term “Malayu bandits” refers to Muslim insurgents fighting the Thai state in the three southernmost provinces and four districts in Songkhla, where about 80 per cent of the two million residents identify themselves as Malay.

Following pressure from the authorities and the Supreme Sangha Council, Phra Apichart decided to close his Facebook account temporarily at that time.