Thailand: Buddhist, Muslim Women Call for End to Violence in Deep South

By Nasueroh
150428-TH-krueseh-620 Koriyah Hali, whose father was killed in the Krue Se incident 11 years ago, came to the mosque to pray for him, April 27, 2015.

Buddhist and Muslim women activists gathered in Pattani on Tuesday, the eleventh anniversary of a bloody clash at Krue Se mosque, to call for an end of violence against innocents in Thailand’s insurgency-ridden Deep South.

The use of violence to solve the region’s problems has perpetuated a cycle of retribution killings in which women and children often are the victims, 21 advocacy groups under an umbrella organization, the Working Group for Southern Women, told a news conference at Park View Resort.

For example, they said, after security forces shot dead four young Muslim men in Pattani’s Tung Yang Dang district on March 25, 13 civilians were killed in follow-on attacks, including nine women and girls.

“We demand a safe zone for children and women,” said Patimoh Po-etae-daoh of WEPEACE. “Please stop violence in public areas such as markets, schools, hospitals and religious establishments.”

“Everyone on the ground must have tolerance, and government officials must adopt a peaceful approach,” she added.

After the press conference, the activists travelled to key places, including Krue Se Mosque, to campaign for peace.

The groups said they were hoping to participate in possible talks between insurgent leaders and the Thai military, should those talks take place in May.

In Bangkok last week, Thai Army Chief Gen. Udomdej Sitabutr announced that dialogue between Thailand and southern insurgent groups would resume for the first time in more than a year in Malaysia, “probably in May”.

The cycle of violence

The women were gathering in Pattani on the anniversary of two important dates in Deep South history.

On April 28, 2004, separatists launched widespread attacks in Pattani, Songkhla and Yala provinces to mark the foiled Dusun Nyor Rebellion, which took place on the same day in 1948.

The attacks in 2004 resulted in 108 fatalities on both sides.

That year’s uprising – better known as the Krue Se incident – came to a close with a military raid on 32 insurgents hiding in the 400-year-old mosque, which is a landmark for Malay Patani people. All 32 were killed before sunset.

Their deaths marked one of the foundational incidents of the current uprising, which has dragged on for 11 years and claimed more than 6,000 lives.

According to the book “Ancient Cities above the Kingdom of Siam,” Krue Se Mosque was built in the early 17th Century during the reign of Queen Rayaberu of Patani Darussalam, the predominantly Muslim region known today as Thailand’s Deep South.

Patani Darussalam was colonized by the Kingdom of Siam until it annexed the region under King Rama V [1868-1910].

Historian: Krue Se was not burnt by Siam

According to Dr. Krongchai Hattha, a historian at Prince of Songkla University’s Pattani Campus, recent findings show that the Krue Se Mosque was never burnt, as stated in many tales of Patani Darussalam.

After the 2004 incident, which caused damage to the mosque structure, the university’s Fine Arts department repaired the mosque and conducted a carbon test on the soil. Krongchai disclosed the results to BenarNews.

“The soil foundation of the Krue Se mosque contained no carbon particles to prove that it was burnt or even struck by lightning,” Krongchai said.

“The materials used for construction of the mosque contained cement similar to that found in the city walls. The mosque’s dome-shaped rooftop caved in because the cements were mixed with mollusk shells, which was flimsy,” Krongchai explained.

Wedged apart

Koriyah Hali, whose father was killed in the Krue Se incident 11 years ago, embraced the findings, but said some might reject it despite the scientific evidence.

Koriyah – who came to Krue Se Mosque a day before the anniversary to pray for her late father – agreed that stories about the past could cause rifts among people.

“In the past we didn’t take a second to think whether the information imparted was true or not, or whether it was possible or reliable. We therefore are wedged apart. Someone gains from it, while we are suffering,” she said.

In spite of her own personal loss, she condemned the idea of revenge attacks.

“Killing is sinful and Allah wouldn’t take a killer to his kingdom. We Krue Se victims would not commit sin but follow the predestination and will of Allah,” she said.


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