In Thailand’s tense Deep South, Muslim communities are speaking out against a plan to build a statue of a Chinese goddess on a mountain in Thepa district. The company planning to build it is TPI Polene Power Plc, a power plant operator. Many in the community around the mountain are Muslims, and an imam, who asked to remain anonymous, said the community may not consider it appropriate.
Now, an unnamed Muslim leader says he will send a letter signed by villagers and religious leaders, to Deputy Minister of Interior and Democrat Party member Nipon Boonyamanee. The letter will ask Nipon to lobby TPI to cancel the plan. The leader warned that if Nipon didn’t respond to the letter, he wouldn’t vote for Democrat candidates in the next election.
Another imam, Golyubi Jarese, told the Bangkok Post Muslims are very sensitive about the issue, and the community had “reached a concensus” that TTIPP should not build the statue, even though they have a right to.
“…but we want you to think over about the plan…about how to co-exist with a Muslim community.”
The planned statue is reportedly set to be of Guan Yin, the goddess of compassion in Chinese mythology. It is to be built is Khao Lon mountain. On Tuesday, an imam association in Songkhla gathered at a mosque in Pak Bang village to protest the plan for the statue, and recite the Quran.
Thailand’s Deep South is known for its sectarian strife. Separatist rebels want the region to break off as an autonymous region called Patani Darussalam. It includes Thailand’s provinces near the Malaysian border of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, and Songkhla. The Patani Malay people are primarily Muslims, while Thailand’s majority are Buddhists. This, along with their different language (Malay) and culture, has created tensions.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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