The oppression and violence to which Muslims in Pattani, an autonomous region affiliated to Thailand, are subjected is little known to the world public. But this terrible persecution in these fertile and wealthy lands in Southeast Asia has been going on for some 200 years.
The persecution of the Pattani Muslims began with the Rama dynasty that took over the Pattani administration in 1782. This dynasty made Bangkok the capital and established a centralized administration. It was then that the conflict between the Pattani Muslims and the local people known as the Siamese broke out. Many Pattani towns were burned down and ruined during the conflict, many military defensive positions were destroyed and some 4000 Pattani Muslims were taken captive by the Siamese.
To delay bringing about Islamic union when mosques in Pattani are raided by Thai troops and Muslims martyred as they pray, when Muslims are ruthlessly martyred, with no distinction made between men, women, children or the elderly, when Muslims are shot in the head during the act of praying, and to behave as if no such thing were happening, will incur a heavy responsibility in the Sight of Allah.
The Siamese inflicted terrible tortures on the Muslims they took captive. They sewed their ears and legs together with a strong cord made of a kind of hemp. The Muslims they brought to Bangkok under that ghastly torture were put to work as slaves digging ditches with no tools or equipment. The sultan of Pattani was savagely killed by the Siamese at the end of the fighting. After the war, Pattani was divided into 7 regions by Thailand and forced to pay taxes and spent the next 70 years under total Siamese rule.
In 1909, the Siamese gave Pattani a kind of nominal independence, but the oppression by the Thai administration continued at the same pace as before. The Muslim Pattani rose up time and time again for full independence, but were savagely put down every time. There was a huge increase in migration to Malaysia at that time.
The Thai administration followed a policy of pressure and assimilation aimed at destroying the Islamic identity of the Pattani people. The first measure was to completely ban the activities of Muslim educational institutions in 1932. In 1944, a wide-ranging campaign of annihilation was initiated, with the leaders of the Pattani Muslims and their families being savagely slaughtered by Buddhists. It was forbidden to obey Islamic laws or engage in Islamic worship, while Buddhist beliefs were also imposed on the people. Buddhism was forcibly taught in schools, and Muslim students were even forced to act according to Buddhist teachings.
Thai troops detaining Pattani Muslim young people and men, laying them down naked in the streets and handcuffing their arms behind their backs. The people of Pattani, who have been Muslim since the 15th century, are exposed to oppression and violence every day.
The Thai administration also perpetrated terrible mass killings of Muslims at various times. In 1944, 125 Muslim families were burned alive in the Belukar Samak region alone. The Thai administration’s policies of assimilation manifested themselves in all spheres of life. Many mosques in Pattani were torn down.
On the other hand, Buddhists were encouraged to migrate to the Pattani region within the framework of this policy of assimilation, and the ethnic balance of the population was altered. The largest statue of Buddha in Thailand was erected in Pattani. The Muslim population was forced to worship statues of Buddha. Some of those who refused were martyred and thrown into the Kota River. Thousands of Pattani people were subjected to inhuman tortures. Eminent Muslim scholars were martyred for suspicious reasons in health institutions established by the Thai regime and unsolved killings and disappearances became part of the Pattani people’s daily lives.
Today, Muslims are deprived of all political and cultural rights in Pattani, which has an Islamic population of some 5 million. The population is subjected to attacks by Thai troops on an almost daily basis. According to information from leading Pattani Muslims, an average of 7 or 8 Pattanis are martyred by Thai troops every day. Those who are not martyred are either taken off to concentration camps or else disappear, never to be heard of again. Many people are forced to leave their homes, and those who object to enforced migration are martyred. There are some 30,000 widows and 40,000 orphaned children in Pattani, where the great majority of women have been raped, where mosques are demolished and Muslims are tormented by pigs being released into their homes and fields. More than 400 people have disappeared under the martial law enforced over the last 3 years, some 2300 have been martyred and another 4000 detained for illegal reasons. There are currently 30,000 people being held in concentration camps. Conditions in these camps have been described as follows in the press:
Most of the prisoners held naked in the camp bear the signs of blows on their bodies, and the Pattani detainees appear exhausted, weak and sorrowful. In addition, soldiers have written numbers on the detainees’ bodies. When the Thai troops want to address the Pattani detainees they use these numbers instead of calling them by name. Female Pattani detainees are mainly held in a concentration camp near Galuvo Village, affiliated to Narativa. The Pattanis say that women in this camp, which holds more than 100 female prisoners, are systematically raped by the soldiers.
It is forbidden for Muslims to use Islamic names, and some have even been forced to adopt names with pagan meanings. The bans on communications make it difficult for our Pattani Muslim brothers to tell the world of this persecution. The foreign press is forbidden to enter the region and take pictures, while public use of the internet is severely restricted.
Thirty thousand Muslims are currently being held in concentration camps by the Thai administration. Thai troops write numbers on these Muslims’ bodies, and address them by those numbers. As for what Muslims undergo in these concentration camps, the marks of the heavy blows in the pictures make that abundantly clear.
Even women and children are detained in concentration camps. It is essential for the Islamic world to be united if the sufferings of these innocent people are to end.
What Form Should Our Pattani Brothers’ Struggle Take?
Many people in the Islamic world may be unaware of what is taking place in Pattani. But the fact is that our Pattani brothers are trying to survive under severe oppression.
However, it needs to be stated that the reaction displayed by our brothers in Pattani to this persecution must still be compatible with the moral values of the Qur’an and the Sunnah of our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). A reaction based on violence due to the influence of and conditioning by Darwinist, materialist and communist ideologies is incompatible with the Qur’an, and Allah will never bestow success upon such a struggle. Violence gives birth to more violence, and a struggle based on violence will just expose our Pattani brothers to more violence themselves. Our Pattani brothers’ legitimate struggle can only succeed if the armed struggle is superseded by an intellectual one and supported by a powerful education program. The Pattani people therefore have an urgent need for a team that is well-educated, cultured, skilled in law, diplomacy and international policy and that acts according to the moral values of the Qur’an.
Of course there are many people within the Pattani population with a high level of culture and open minds. The important thing is for these intellectuals to be made properly aware and properly guided, and for work to be done on espousing the Pattani cause in the eyes of the international public. These activities will play a hugely important role in the Pattani people becoming conscious or true Islamic moral values, in further raising their levels of culture and education and in the world being told of the legitimate Pattani cause in the finest possible manner. It is therefore vitally important for our Pattani brothers to develop themselves in cultural terms and engage in anti-Darwinist, anti-materialist and anti-communist activities.
Every Muslims Has a Responsibility to Strive for the Liberation of Our Pattani Brothers
The whole Islamic world has a responsibility to strive on behalf of the poor women, children and the elderly literally held captive in Pattani, of the tortured, of those Muslims whose places of worship are destroyed, and of the innocent people ruthlessly forced to labor in the concentration camps. Allah reveals how Muslims have a duty to strive on behalf of those who are wronged in verse 75 of Surat an-Nisa’:
What reason could you have for not fighting in the Way of Allah – for those men, women and children who are oppressed and say, ‘Our Lord, take us out of this city whose inhabitants are wrongdoers! Give us a protector from You! Give us a helper from You!’?
The most important and vital thing for Muslims to do for the liberation of the people of Pattani, and also, by Allah’s leave, the most effective, is to bring about the unity of the Islamic world. When the Muslim world of 1.5 billion people is united, when it acts as a single bloc, then not a hair on the head of a single Muslim in Pattani, Burma, Palestine, Iraq or anywhere else will be permitted to be harmed. But if the Islamic world is dispersed and fragmented as it is now, then there will be no end to this pain and suffering. For that reason, Muslims must permit no divisions stemming from such factors as differences of sect and community, race, language and ethnic grouping, and they must not regard these as divisive elements. All Muslims, Shiites, Sunnis, Jaferis, Alawites or Wahabbists must act in the knowledge that they are all brothers. (http://www.turkishislamicunion.com/)
Our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) has revealed that it is unacceptable for one Muslim to leave another in difficulties. It is unbecoming of any Muslim to waste time over differences when immaculate Muslims in Pattani are suffering torture and are unable even to make their voices heard, when blood flows in streams every day in Afghanistan, Iraq, East Turkestan and Palestine and when hundreds of thousands of Muslims are calling out begging to be saved. This age is one when all Muslims must be bound to one another like buildings soldered together by lead. Allah imposes this as a religious obligation. And all Muslims must be scrupulous when it comes to abiding by it.
The pictures in this article reveal that there is not a day to be lost for Muslims to establish the Turkish-Islamic Union. By Allah's leave, when the Turkish-Islamic Union is established, there will be rejoicing in Pattani, which was once an Ottoman province, as in the rest of the world. The people of Pattani, who long for those Ottoman times, will then attain the peace, security, comfort, freedom and ease they so desire.