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Tep Vong, the leader of Cambodia’s Buddhist community, dies at 93

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Tep Vong, the senior monk who headed Cambodia’s Buddhist community and was vital for its rejuvenation in the wake of the Khmer Rouge genocide in the late 70s, has died. He was 93. Cambodia’s Ministry of Cult and Religion said Tep Vong died Monday after an extended illness. He was granted the title of the Great Supreme Patriarch in 2006, making him the religious chief of both the Mahanikay and Dhammayut orders of Theravada Buddhism in Cambodia. About 97% of Cambodia’s 17 million people are Buddhists. Tep Vong was key to the restoration of Buddhism in Cambodia after the communist Khmer Rouge during their 1975-79 rule tried to eradicate all organized religion. Their radical policies are blamed for the deaths of as many as 1.7 million people.

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The Associated Press

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