Roots of Conflict in Muslim-Dominated South Go Back Centuries

May 3, 2004

Source: The Manila Times

On May 3, 2004 The Manila Times ran an Agence France Presse article giving history behind the current conflict in the predominantly-Muslim south of Thailand: "A wave of violence which has hit Thailand’s restive Muslim-dominated south this year, culminating in bloody clashes that left 113 dead, has its roots in a separatist struggle that stretches back centuries. The region was originally part of an ancient Hindu-Malay empire that encompassed what is today Thailand’s five southernmost provinces as well as the modern-day Malaysian states of Kelantan, Terengganu and northern Kedah. The empire adopted Islam in the mid-13th century and later took the name Pattani, with its capital thought to be at modern-day Krue Se, where 32 rebels were gunned down by Thai security forces in an historic mosque Wednesday. The people of Pattani then, as now, spoke a Malay dialect and maintained a culture distinct from the ethnic-Thai north that officially made Buddhism its state religion at about the same time Islam was taking hold in the south."