RealNews

Muslims in southern Thailand fear policy of aggression by government

One possible reason for the latest spate of reprisal killings is that Muslims living in southern Thailand fear they will be the target of a “policy of aggression” by Bangkok. These fears surfaced after Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra pledged to take decisive steps to end the violence in the province.The Islamic Council in Narathiwat, the scene of some of the most intense rebel activity, has warned that an crackdown will only invite further violence, with some hardliners even warning of attacks in the capital. Narathiwat is a volatile border province in Thailand’s deep south, neighbouring Malaysia, with a long history of Muslim separatist movements. Most of Thailand’s six million Muslims live in the south and many feel alienated by the Buddhist administration in Bangkok. Since some 85 Muslim protesters were killed three weeks ago in a riot broken up by government forces, there has been a spate of revenge killings targetted at ordinary Buddhists, including monks, shopkeepers and students.The Islamic Council in Narathiwat advises the Provincial Governor on matters pertaining to Islam and the Muslim community. Since the October tragedy, it has been the go-between channelling cash and gifts from the local government to families of the victims to help ease their hardship. But the Islamic Council says the government needs to do more if it wants a long term solution in this restive southern province.Full Story

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