'Impressed by Shamsi's selfless service for communal harmony at Bodh Gaya, the king of Thailand selected him for this rare honour,' sources said.
'It is an honour for me to be given the responsibility by the king of Thailand,' Shamsi said. He said Neranjarawas temple would work for strengthening communal and religious harmony.
Never before has a Muslim been appointed the advisor and patron of a Buddhist temple. 'There is no such precedence in history,' a Buddhist scholar said. There are over 30 Buddhist monasteries in Bodha Gaya, most of them belonging to Thais or Japanese.
The temple-cum-community centre, to be built at a cost of Rs.160 million, includes a school, hospital, community centre and a guesthouse for monks coming to Bodh Gaya from around the world.
The Thai king had honoured Shamshi with a royal golden coin. Only 50 such coins were minted in Thailand to be given to distinguished people across the world by the king.