"THAILAND: NO LONGER ONLY BUDDHIST MONKS, NOW MILITANT ISLAM IS PENETRATING."
MILAN, Italy (AsiaNews) - Muslims dream of returning to the Malay sultanate. Irredentism has grown since September 11th. The Thai government is trying to assimilate Islam. And in official ceremonies, it places Muslim dignitaries and Buddhist monks alongside one another, but not Catholics.
THAILAND (July 16, 2009) - Once a free and peaceful land, the tourist paradise now known as Thailand ("Free land"), formerly Siam, is fighting one of the world's many "forgotten wars" about which little is known.
* MIDDLE EAST
* EAST ASIA
* SOUTH ASIA
* CENTRAL ASIA
* SOUTH EAST ASIA
* NORTH ASIA
* SOUTH WEST ASIA
Thailand is a country of 65 million inhabitants with an overwhelming Buddhist majority (exceeding 90% of the population) and home to a small number of Muslims (4.5%), who are concentrated in three southern provinces bordering Malaysia.
The demands of Islamic people to become part of Malaysia stretch back many years, because in the past those territories belonged to the Islamic Malay sultanate under the protection of England -- such as Malaysia, the Malaysian Borneo, and Brunei.
[It was/is common practice for Western colonialists to divide as they exit a region, mixing unhappy neighbors into single states who predictably remain in perpetual war striving for an ethnically homogeneous homeland or a return to the rule of a neighboring region; Eastern governments now follow suit.]
After World War II, the sultanate was occupied by Thailand. Already in the 1970's there was a strong campaign for regional autonomy on the part of Muslims, with bombings, violence, and brief periods of warfare.
by Piero Gheddo
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