A Thai Buddhist has called for Buddhist-majority countries like Thailand to halt the rise of nationalism, intolerance and hate speech.

“It’s very dangerous, much more dangerous than weapons,” said Sulak Sivaraksa during a recent panel discussion on the Channel NewsAsia programme Between The Lines.

As World Watch Monitor reported in October, Buddhism, universally recognised as a “peaceful religion”, is increasingly becoming associated with violent nationalism.

As Channel NewsAsia reports, Bodu Bala Sena has been responsible for “hundreds of attacks against Muslims and Christians” in Sri Lanka, “in the name of protecting the country’s Buddhist culture”, while in Myanmar, “hardline monks of the ultra-nationalist Ma Ba Tha group have been fuelling sentiment against the Muslim Rohingya”.

Religiously motivated nationalism was among the most prevalent trends in the 2017 Open Doors World Watch List of the 50 countries in which it is hardest to live as a Christian.