Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Southern Thailand:Sharia in the Works

The Pakistani Taliban has been slaughtering anyone in their way and they were rewarded with Sharia law in the Swat Valley. Muslims in Chechnya have been at war with non-Muslims in Russia for over a decade and they are rewarded with Islamic rule. Now the same pattern is about to take place in Southern Thailand where violent Muslims are close to living their Sharia law dream. In the past they were allowed to use sharia for family aspects (just like in the UK), but of course it is never enough. Will the world ever wake up?

Thailand May Extend Shariah Law in Violence-Ridden Muslim South
By Haslinda Amin and Daniel Ten Kate

June 23 (Bloomberg) -- Thailand may allow more local autonomy and consider extending Shariah law to defuse a separatist insurgency in Muslim provinces that border Malaysia, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said.

“More decentralization and provisions that respond to specific needs are fine,” Abhisit said in an interview in Singapore yesterday. “We can respond to needs on Shariah law, on the education system.”

Abhisit, 44, is seeking to undermine suspected separatists in four southernmost provinces who have attacked teachers, Muslim worshippers and policemen this month, leaving at least 31 dead and more than 50 injured. The prime minister, who took office in December, has insisted any decentralization of power wouldn’t be tantamount to autonomy, which the government opposes.

“Most of the local Malay Muslims just want a more autonomous, more decentralized administration so that they have political space for their own cultural and religious identity,” said Srisompob Jitpiromsri, a political science lecturer at the Prince of Songkhla University in Pattani province. “So far the local identity has been suppressed by the central government.

Shariah law is a system that operates under a code of Islamic principles first established in the Arab world by the prophet Muhammad in the seventh century. Under a 1946 law, Thailand allows Revolutionary Guard limited use of Islamic rules in the mostly Muslim provinces for settling family and inheritance issues.

Former Sultanate

Abhisit has advocated a reconciliatory approach with more development aid for the region, where separatists have fought for an independent state since Thailand formally annexed the autonomous Malay-Muslim sultanate in 1902. A planned development plan that would create jobs in the region “will go a long way to contribute to stability,” he said.

Large-scale military operations in June 2007 cut the number of violent incidents in the south in half to an average of fewer than 100 per month last year, according to Deep South Watch, a group that tracks the attacks. They have started to increase again in the first six months of this year.

“It appears that the improvement in counter insurgency tactics did as much as it could do and has ceased to make significant inroads,” said Anthony Davis, a Thailand-based security analyst for Jane’s Information Group. “The insurgents are essentially regrouping and as this month shows, they have a significant organizational capacity.”

Negotiations ‘Impractical’

Abhisit said negotiations with separatists were impractical because the movement was “not integrated.” Insurgents in the area, which is about twice the size of the Palestinian territories, were supported by funds from drug cartels, human trafficking rings and other criminal syndicates, he said.

Separatist groups target “devout, hard-working, well- mannered students” from private Islamic schools to join the insurgency, the International Crisis Group said in a report yesterday. Some undergo frontline military training while others are used for psychological warfare, it said.

“Recruiters appeal to a sense of Malay nationalism and pride in the old Patani sultanate,” says Rungrawee Chalermsripinyorat, Crisis Group’s Thailand analyst. “They tell students in these schools that it is the duty of every Muslim to take back their land from the Buddhist infidels.”

Link to Article

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Muslims in Chechnya have been at war with 'non-Muslims in Russia' for over a decade ..." ? You are aware that those non-Muslims are Russians who have invaded the lands of the Chechens, right? This is not just about "living their Sharia law dream", this is about living in your own country without the interference from other countries, or non-Chechens that is.