By Adil James, TMO
Farmington–November 12, 2012–The United States State Department periodically brings visitors to the United States from around the world in order to show them the true nature of this country.
Farmington–November 12, 2012–The United States State Department periodically brings visitors to the United States from around the world in order to show them the true nature of this country. Recently the State Department hosted two journalists from Thailand who focus on the south of Thailand–called the â€œdeep southâ€ in Thailand, from the three Muslim provinces that have recently been very restive.
Thailandâ€™s three southernmost provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiway have seen almost daily gun fights and bomb attacks since January 2004.
The two journalistsâ€™ visit was intended to study investigative journalism, as they are both involved in investigating the ongoing war in Thailand.
The two visitors arrived at The Muslim Observer on Monday afternoon and spent about two hours in a friendly discussion with TMO staffers and TMO publisher Dr. AS Nakadar.
The journalists described in detail the war that has plagued their region and described the history, ethnicity and language of the southern Thai provinces. The deep south of Thailand is, according to Mr. Dueramae, comprised of ethnic Malay people but who speak the Thai language. The Thai took over the region approximately 200 years ago, and thus the roots of the conflict lie more in a desire for political autonomy than in religious conflict.
The culture of the armed insurrection is one in which one group rises, becomes strong, dies out and then another group of insurrectionists develops.
They explained that there is a range of opinions within the Muslim region, where some Muslims agree with the insurrectionists, others are opposed to the insurrection, and many are neutral. However many in the region are opposed to some Thai policies, for example a past (now ended) policy outlawed hijab for Muslim girls in public school.
Thailand is 8% Muslim, comprising about 1.5 million out of about 19 million Thais, mainly in the south.
The journalists study the separatist movement by interviewing separatists and past separatists, who all usually remain anonymous and frequently deny their allegiance to the separatist movement; the journalists produced a seven part series on the conflict.
Ordinary people are actually caught in the middle of this conflict. Many die, many get maimed, or lose family members–they actually want a solution.
The Thai government also has come to understand the conflict better–where at first they assumed that every resident of the deep south was either complicit or involved in the movement, now they understand that there is a range of positions among the residents of Thailandâ€™s deep south.
The Thai journalists had many questions for the Muslim Observer, and wanted to understand the climate for Muslims in the wake of 9/11, and the nature of TMOâ€™s business model as well.
TMO was honored to have this visit.