Posts tagged ‘Jemaah Islamiyah and Islamic terrorism’

May 22, 2010

Buddhists Fear to Walk in Southern Thailand

Buddhists Fear to Walk in Southern Thailand

 

 

 

By Lee Jay Walker
Tokyo Correspondent  –  THE SEOUL TIMES

 

 The Modern Tokyo Times

Buddhism in Thailand – Around 90% of Thailand’s population is Buddhist of the Theravada school.  However, Islam is dominant in southern Thailand and today you have a major civil war and Islamists want an independent state.

The image of Thailand is one of beautiful beaches and stunning Buddhist places of worship. However, in recent times this nation is blighted by political infighting, mass demonstrations, a delicate economy which fluctuates too much, and a devastating Islamic insurgency in southern Thailand.

It is the Islamic insurgency which I will concentrate on because the current crisis in southern Thailand does have wider consequences for Southeast Asia. After all, you have Christian-Muslim tensions in parts of Indonesia and the Philippines. Therefore, the situation is southern Thailand is very important both internally and externally.

The vast majority of people in Thailand belong to the Buddhist faith; however, southern Thailand is very different because most people are Muslim in the provinces of Yala, Narathiwat, and Pattani. Therefore, a major Sunni Muslim insurgency is currently igniting tensions in order to drive away the Buddhist minority and therefore lay the foundation of separation and independence from Thailand.

The radical Sunni Islamic insurgency desires to spread fear, hatred, and an area where Buddhism is eradicated just like what happened in Afghanistan or what is happening in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in modern day Bangladesh.

Therefore, the brutal Sunni Islamic insurgency is killing both moderate Muslims and Buddhists for different reasons. The reason for killing Buddhists is because certain elements within radical Sunni Islam do not believe in religious co-existence. Also, Buddhists are deemed to be infidels and within Islamic Sharia law they have no legal rights and conversion to Islam or death is sanctioned because they are not monotheists.

Given this, southern Thailand resembles modern day Afghanistan and Somalia because in both these nations you have radical Sunni Islamists who will not tolerate even one single Christian church or Buddhist temple. Therefore, the slaughter of Buddhists in southern Thailand is following a similar pattern of past and current history and the current anti-Buddhist onslaught in southern Thailand is reaching new heights.

At the same time moderate Muslims are being killed by radical Sunni Islamic fanatics. Given this, Muslim teachers, administration workers, or anyone deemed to be working with the government of Thailand is liable to face the threat of death. This fear is real and the methodology of killing is intended to spread fear to all who oppose the Islamization of southern Thailand.

The dream of radical Sunni Islamists in southern Thailand is to have a land with no Buddhists and to create an Islamic Sharia state. Therefore, the usual beheadings of innocents is deemed to be justified on the grounds that non-Muslims are infidels in accordance with the Koran and Hadiths.

This applies to the Koran for 9:29 states “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the last day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and his apostle nor acknowledge the religion of truth of the people of the Book (Jews and Christians) until they pay jizya (tax on non-Muslims) with willing submission and feel themselves subdued.”

Verse 9:73 in the Koran also states “O Prophet! Strive hard (wage war) against the unbelievers and the Hypocrites and be firm against them. Their abode is Hell, – an evil refuge indeed.” While the Hadith 9:4  says “Wherever you find infidels kill them; for whoever kills them shall have reward on the Day of Resurrection.”

It is clear that these sayings in both the Koran and Hadiths are still potent today because radical Islamists are spreading mayhem in many nations and this also applies to nations with small minorities. After all, Christians have been burnt alive in Pakistan despite being a small minority and several Christian leaders were beheaded recently in northern Nigeria in order to intimidate the sizeable Christian population in northern Nigeria.

Zachary Abuza, the author of “Militant Islam in Southeast Asia,” stated that Buddhists have been forced to flee in a “de facto ethnic cleansing.” He further continued by stating that “The social fabric of the south has been irreparably damaged.”

Meanwhile Sunai Phasuk, a political analyst at Human Rights Watch, commented that “Buddhist monks have been hacked to death, clubbed to death, bombed and burned to death.” Therefore, it is clear that this Sunni Islamic insurgency is following a familiar path and this applies to the destruction of all non-Muslim elements within society or the complete dhimmitude of all non-Muslims by the rule of fear.

From the Sunni Islamic insurgents point of view they believe that the former Sultanate of Pattani is the structure of their society and that Thailand had no right to annex this land. Also, many Muslims claim that they face discrimination and that they have been marginalized by the central state. Therefore, many Muslims desire independence from Thailand.

However, the degree of violence aimed at both the Buddhist community and any Muslim deemed to be in favour of the government of Thailand is brutal. Zachary Abuza states “What is new about the current conflict is the level and degree of violence, the Islamist agenda of the insurgents, and their unprecedented degree of cooperation and coordination.

He continues by saying that “The level of violence in Thailand’s south has never been higher” and this can be seen clearly by the beheadings of Buddhists and hacking to death of Buddhist priests. Zachary Abuza also states this, for he says that “Nor has it been more brutal” and this is what is worrying for Thailand and the region.

After all, you have many Sunni Islamic insurgencies or Sunni Islamic terrorist networks in Southeast Asia. Therefore, you have the threat of these different organizations working together in order to install radical Sunni Islam. This notably applies to Eastern Indonesia (particularly Maluku) and Mindanao in the Southern Philippines.

In Eastern Indonesia and Mindanao in the Southern Philippines it is a clash between Christians and Muslims and the nation state is much weaker in both areas. However, in Indonesia the majority of Muslims support a more moderate version of Islam but in recent times radical Sunni Islam is increasing and Sunni Islamic jihadist movements have targeted both Christians and foreign nationals.

The most notable movement in the region is Jemaah Islamiya which is often linked with Al Qaeda and this Sunni terrorist Islamic organization desires to create more chaos and hatred in order to spread its influence and obtain its ultimate objective. This objective, just like the radical Sunni Islamic objective in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, and other nations, is to create an Islamic Sharia state and enforce the slavery of non-Muslims by a policy of dhimmitude.

Zachary Abuza also mentions that Salafist and Wahabbi influence is also growing because moderate Sunni Muslim leaders have been sternly rebuked or attacked by conservative Sunni Islamists. Also, it is noticeable that more women are covering up in purdah and clearly this will lead to even more cultural divisions within society in Southern Thailand.

Abuza has claimed, “They [insurgents] have killed and threatened imams who have performed funerals for Muslim collaborators and killed almost 10 imams who teach at government-funded Islamic schools. They have threatened parents to not send their children to any school but the private Islamic schools. They have forced businesses closed on Fridays. Suffis and moderate Sha’afis have been routinely targeted.”

However, overall Zachary Abuza hints that the main cause in Southern Thailand is internal and currently Jemaah Islamiya is not strong enough to export its violence on a major scale to Southern Thailand. Also, Jemaah Islamiya is primarily focused on Indonesia and the security forces in Indonesia are fully aware about this problem.

Overall, it is clear that elements within Southern Thailand desire a non-Buddhist land and the role of Sunni Islamic indoctrination is now turning its hatred against moderate Sunni Muslim leaders. This hatred and alienation of the younger generation began after many studied at international universities throughout the Middle East and clearly some funding from the Middle East is being used to spread radical Sunni Islamic versions of Islam.

The government of Thailand is at a loss about the current crisis because of internal convulsions within the political system. At times the military have responded with brute force in order to contain the insurgency in Southern Thailand but at other times a more moderate approach is enforced.

Yet from a wider perspective it is clear that you have many radical Sunni Islamic terrorist organizations in Southeast Asia and terrorist networks survive and flourish in failed states or where centralization is very weak. Therefore, the future of Southern Thailand is also an issue for Indonesia and the Philippines because both nations have internal problems with radical Islam.

Also, the heart of Islam is now at war with itself and moderate versions in Southern Thailand and Indonesia are being put under tremendous pressure in certain regions. Therefore, the hidden war in Southern Thailand by radical Sunni Islamists is being aimed at moderate Muslims and Buddhists alike.

However, for the Buddhists, they face complete annihilation and one day Southern Thailand may end up like Afghanistan, Central Asia, and other areas which once had a thriving Buddhist community. It would appear that Islamization is now a reality and in time the Buddhist minority will continue to dwindle and the only saving grace at the moment for Buddhists is the military of Thailand.

Lee Jay Walker

https://islamicpersecution.wordpress.com

http://themoderntokyotimes.wordpress.com

http://leejaywalker.wordpress.com

May 19, 2010

Southern Thailand and Islamization

Southern Thailand and Islamization

 

By Lee Jay Walker
Tokyo Correspondent  – THE SEOUL TIMES  

 

 THE MODERN TOKYO TIMES

Students salute Islamic teacher in Thailand.

Thailand is faced with many internal problems and the political and economic situation remains fragile because of the ongoing political turmoil. At the same time, it is abundantly clear that the Muslim uprising in the southern provinces is a major concern for not only Thailand but for the wider community throughout the region. After all, the global jihadist network is always looking for new opportunities to spread more mayhem and to maintain military and economic functions.

Therefore, you have two important dimensions in southern Thailand. One, and of course the most important component at the moment, is the ongoing anti-Buddhist campaign whereby Islamists desire a pure Islamic state. The other important component is that if the Thai military loses control and if Buddhists continue to flee southern parts of Thailand, then the Islamic internationalization of southern Thailand will become a regional issue and this notably applies to Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

It must be stated that in parts of Indonesia and the Philippines you already have Christian and Muslim tensions and you have several radical Islamic networks in both nations. The most notorious Islamic terrorist networks apply to Jemaah Islamiya (JI) in Indonesia; the Moro Islamic Liberation Front which seeks an Islamic state in the southern Philippines; the Abu Sayyaf Group which is also based in the southern Philippines; and you have other networks which have either lose ties or regional agendas and of course Al-Qaeda have links throughout the region.

In the past the conflict in southern Thailand was mainly an internal struggle between the majority Muslim community of three southern provinces (Pattani, Narathiwat, and Yala) and the government of Thailand. Therefore, for many decades you had the desire for an Islamic state but nationalism was also a core base for demanding independence. However, in recent times it is clear that the Pattani United Liberation Organization (PULO); the Barisan Revolusi Nasional-Coordinate (BRN-C); Bersatu; Gerakan Mujahadeen Islam Pattani (GMIP); and others, desire an Islamic state and they have a jihadist agenda.

Therefore, in the past the Muslim insurgency was aimed at the government and military of Thailand but times have changed. Therefore, since 2001 it is clear that you now have an overwhelming Islamic jihadist agenda and this is aimed at forcing the Buddhists to flee and moderate Muslims are also being killed because they are deemed to be traitors.

Sunai Phasuk, a political analyst at Human Rights Watch, commented that “Buddhist monks have been hacked to death, clubbed to death, bombed and burned to death.” Therefore, the Sunni Islamic insurgency is just like radical Islam in Afghanistan and Somalia, to name only a few places in the world.

After all, in Somalia it is clear that Sunni Islamists are intent on killing every last Christian in this nation and in Afghanistan the followers of radical Islam are even intent on wiping out every trace of Buddhism in this land. Therefore, the past Islamic jihads which destroyed Buddhism in Afghanistan weren’t good enough because under the rule of The Taliban they even began to destroy all traces of Buddhism during their year zero campaign.

Therefore, the Sunni Islamic insurgency in southern Thailand is following a familiar path and this applies to the destruction of all non-Muslim elements within society or the complete dhimmitude of all non-Muslims by the rule of fear.

In truth, this is a continuation of what the prophet Mohammed did because he also began the annihilation of Judaism and Paganism in Arabia and on his deathbed he then called for all non-Muslims to share the same fate in Arabia.

Mohammed stated “No Muslim should be killed for killing a Kafir” (infidel). Vol. 9:50 and his dying words were “Turn the pagans (non-Muslims) out of the Arabian Peninsula.” Vol. 5:716

Therefore, the hatred which is ongoing in southern Thailand is directly inspired by Mohammed because he stated to “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” Koran 9:29

Zachary Abuza, author of Militant Islam in Southeast Asia (Crucible of Terror) and Conspiracy of Silence (The insurgency in Southern Thailand), and a host of other written materials, highlighted the role of the madrasas (Islamic schools).

Zachary Abuza states that “In their pursuit of the creation of Islamic states, many Southeast Asian jihadis established Islamic schools to indoctrinate, propagate, and recruit. The leaders of many militant groups in Southeast Asia, including the Laskar Jihad, Kampulan Mujahidin Malaysia, and Jemaah Islamiya, returned from Afghanistan and established a network of madrasas as the base of their operations and recruitment.”

Therefore, while past insurgencies fused the Islamic faith with nationalism, it is clear that this is no longer the case and instead southern Thailand is faced by the forces of radical Islam. This new pattern is intolerant towards any diversity and Buddhists are deemed to be subhuman and compromise is not on the agenda.

In the book by Zachary Abuza called Conspiracy of Silence he states that “Execution-style killings have demonstrated a ruthlessness that has never before been seen in southern Thailand. Women, children, monks, and clergy, who in previous iterations of the insurgency would never have been routinely targeted, are now dying in appalling numbers.” (Page 141)

Zachary Abuza also states that “The Thai government has always played down the role of the jihadists. It argues that their numbers are very small and their doctrinaire Salafism/Wahhabism makes them ill-suited to the Malay community. A similar refrain was heard in Indonesia, when officials did not want to confront the growing specter of JI. In reality, Thia security forces are unwilling to acknowledge the role of groups with more international aspirations and contacts. A homegrown, localized insurgency that does not threaten the tourism industry or the national economy is somewhat tolerable. A group with ties to al-Qaeda – a group that cares little about equity or social justice and a lot about eliminating the enemies of Islam (especially allies of the United States) through indiscriminate violence – is altogether a different thing: it is dangerous and threatening.” (Pages 143-144)

B. Raman (Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi) states in the South Asia Analysis Group, Paper No. 1501, that “The external inspiration has so far been mainly from Bangladesh and Pakistan, the main motivating organizations being the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI), which has a presence both in Bangladesh and Pakistan, and the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), which has a presence only in Pakistan and not in Bangladesh. The extensive media reporting in Pakistan on the presence of foreign students in Pakistani madrasas, which followed the reports of the involvement of three British citizens of Pakistani origin in the London explosions of July 7,2005, has revealed the presence of nearly a thousand Pattanis in the Pakistani madrasas.”

”This has been a surprisingly large number. Till the Pakistani media gave an estimate of the number of Thai students in their madrasas, one was under the impression that the flow of Thai Muslims to the madrasas in Pakistan had considerably declined after the arrest of the brother of Hambali, the operational chief of the Jemaah Islamiya (JI), and some other Indonesians and Malaysians from madrasas in Karachi controlled by the LET and their deportation to their respective countries in 2003. Instructions had gone to the Thai Muslims after their deportation to go to Bangladesh thereafter for studies in the madrasas there since the Pakistani jihadi organisations, which are members of Osama bin Laden’s International Islamic Front (IIF), were afraid that the Americans might be keeping a watch on the madrasas in Pakistan.”

In my article which was published in The Seoul Times called Islamic Militants Target Buddhists in Thailand, I comment that “The ongoing Islamic jihad in Southern Thailand could draw in other regional and global jihadists, and this could have dire consequences because you have Christian-Muslim tensions in parts of Indonesia and the Philippines. Also, if the Thai army is forced to retreat or adopt a containment policy then clearly Islamic jihadists will gain because they will have free areas in order to spread their dangerous ideology and cause further mayhem throughout the region.”

“At the same time the current Sunni Islamic insurgency hopes to cleanse the region of all Buddhists and to destroy Buddhist temples and architecture in yet another re-run of Afghanistan. Therefore, it is clear that the minority Buddhist community in Southern Thailand needs greater protection from radical Islamists.”

“If political leaders in Thailand betray the Buddhist minority then the consequences will be severe. Also, this part of Thailand could become yet another museum where Buddhism is eradicated by Islam?”

Another important factor is that Islamists are always looking for a fresh opportunity to spread their hatred and ideology. Therefore, if America and other allies begin to contain radical Islamic forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, then just like the past they will look for new ventures and areas to cause chaos.

This factor alone means that southern Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines could witness further infiltration of international jihadist movements in the future. Added to this is the geopolitical and geographic reality which holds many opportunities for the international Islamic terrorist movement.

Abu Bakar Ba’asyir and JI have a goal and this is to create a super-Islamic state which would incorporate Indonesia, Malaysia, the southern Philippines, Brunei, and Singapore (some would also include southern Thailand). This may seem impossible to most people or an illusion, but an illusion in the eyes of radical Islamists does not hinder insurgencies or international Islamic jihadist movements which enter conflicts when the time is right.

International Islamists have moved freely between Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Iraq and a host of other countries. Therefore, failed states, narcotic wars, chaos, ethnic divisions, and other dark forces are grounds for Islamists to create more chaos and often with Saudi Arabian funding.

Denis D. Gray and Vijay Joshi, Associated Press, March 10, 2007, state that “Between 1999 and 2003, Thai students held regular paramilitary sessions in Bandung, Indonesia, with the top “one or two” then sent to Mindanao in the southern Philippines, another region wracked by Islamic rebellion, for more combat training, said Col. Wichai Chucherd, Defense Attache at the Thai embassy in Indonesia.”

“An Indonesian military intelligence report seen by The AP on the Bandung training says the presence of Thai separatists on Indonesian soil is worrying because they could form links with Jemaah Islamiyah members who are now in Indonesia.”

“Thai insurgents provided support for frequent visits by Jemaah Islamiyah’s alleged operations chief Riduan Isamuddin, also known as Hambali, who was captured in Thailand in 2003 and is now in U.S. custody.”

Turning back to Zachary Abuza he highlights some Islamic leaflets in his book called the Conspiracy of Silence. These leaflets are aimed to intimidate the local community and many are directed towards the Buddhists.

For example Document 22 states “Dear every Siamese Buddhist Thai who lives near the police stations……..I’ll give you three days for you to leave my land. Otherwise, I will kill, burn, destroy all Buddhist Thai property………The Buddhist Thai will never live in peace. If you leave the house, travel or go to work, you will die violently. I will wait for you for 24 hours, in every direction.” (Page 241)

Document 23 states “The Islamic warriors of Pattani announce the purpose that we will never stop killing the Siamese kafir (infidel) and will never stop destroying army weapons, the economy, politics, education and the Siamese kafir society until we regain the land of Pattani and establish the state of Pattani Darulslam. I ask for Muslim Malays to be the witnesses.” (PAGE 242)

Therefore, the ongoing insurgency is southern Thailand may be viewed to be isolated but clearly this area could be used by international Islamists to further their power base and the importance of the Malacca Straits must not be overlooked for international Islamic terrorists. After all, the region is of major strategic significance and terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda desire to cause economic mayhem where possible.

Overall, it appears that Thailand is going from one political crisis to another in Bangkok but for the Buddhists of southern Thailand and moderate Muslims it is one long nightmare. A major Islamic insurgency is ongoing and given the complexities of the region, then links with JI and other Islamic terrorist networks is clearly a cause for major concern.

If the current situation prevails and Buddhists continue to flee because of countless massacres by Islamists then the central government in Thailand will have little power to control southern Thailand in the future. If this happens, then this area will be cleansed of Buddhists and the next fear is that this region will be utilized by international Islamists.

LEE JAY WALKER

http://leejaywalker.wordpress.com

http://themoderntokyotimes.wordpress.com

leejayteach@hotmail.com

http://www.islamicpersecution.wordpress.com