With Thailand’s Constitutional Court expected to decide on the validity of the new anti-terrorism decree in October, some analysts have expressed concerns at the prospect of police agencies ending up with even more power. That sense was also widespread in the Muslim community, which may be drifting towards a bunker mentality as it sees itself as a potential victim of international power politics. Muslims in southern Thailand remained sceptical of reports that Hambali had been captured – a reaction which also probably reflected deep cynicism of the government’s motives. A prominent Pattani-based Muslim scho- lar welcomed news of the arrest earlier this month. But there was a feeling in the south that the Muslim community – concentrated in the provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala – had been tarred with the radicalism brush. This was the case since three prominent local men were arrested in Narathiwat about two months ago and accused of being Jemaah Islamiah members. Narathiwat-based Senator Fakhruddin Boto told The Straits Times that Muslims in the south were still in denial over government charges that the three – a Muslim teacher, his son and a local doctor – were JI members. Full Story
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