Government Seeks to Resolve Conflict in Southern Province

May 23, 2005

Source: MSNBC/Newsweek

On May 23, 2005 Newsweek reported, "The amateur video looked like something that would appear on Al-Jazeera: a group of men with long, gray beards and white Muslim robes sitting in a spartan room at a hidden location, discussing Islam. But instead of denouncing the West and plotting terrorist attacks, the group was engaged in an emotional discussion about how to halt spiraling religious violence in southern Thailand. The video, filmed at a house in northern Malaysia in April and viewed by a NEWSWEEK correspondent across the border in southern Thailand last week, could prove to be the beginning of a gambit involving players living in both countries to bring peace to Thailand's Muslim-majority southern provinces. '[Thailand] is for all people, not just Buddhist or Muslim,' an elderly cleric named Awea Burahanudin is seen telling his guests on the video. 'You can't approach the problem by the bullet and the gun.'

Thus far, that message hasn't gotten out. There was another spate of violence in Thailand's Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala provinces last week�including a bombing on Friday night that killed two Thai Marines and wounded eight others in Narathiwat."