Minority religions at home in Thailand
“Unlike Burma, we can hold religious events and activities freely without asking permission from Thai authorities,” said Rev. Ah Saw.
Despite Thailand's strict policies on migrant workers, and frequent anti-migrant crackdowns by Thai police, Ah Saw said that Thai police don’t bother his church or disturb the worship activities.
"They [Thai policemen] know there are Burmese migrant workers coming to my church for worship, but they don’t disturb us as they know we only conduct religious activities,” said Rev. Ah Saw.
“In Burma, there are some areas, especially in ethnic minority communities, where we are forbidden to freely conduct religious activities,” he added.
When he used to work at a church in Tachileik in southern Shan State in eastern Burma, Rev. Ah Saw said that he always had to inform local authorities in advance to conduct religious events. InThailand, he said that he doesn’t need to inform anyone of his activities.
“In Burma, we had to inform local authorities in advance before holding religious events. If authorities were unhappy with our religious activities, they could restrict our religious practice at any time,” said Rev. Ah Saw.
Ah Saw said that he enjoys holding his weekly services in Chiang Mai now. About 50 Burmese people living in Chiang Mai gather at his church each Sunday, and the number is getting bigger day by day.