The oppression and violence to which Malay Muslims in Patani, 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 Malay Patani 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 Malay Patani and the local people known as the Siamese broke out. Many Patani towns were burned down and ruined during the conflict, many military defensive positions were destroyed and some 4000 Malay Patani Muslims were taken captive by the Siamese.
|Patani towns were burned down and ruined during the conflict|
The Siamese inflicted terrible tortures on the Malay 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 Patani was savagely killed by the Siamese at the end of the fighting. After the war, Patani was divided into 7 regions by Thailand and forced to pay taxes and spent the next 70 years under total Siamese rule.
|The Muslims they brought to Bangkok|
In 1909, the Siamese gave Patani a kind of nominal independence, but the oppression by the Thai administration continued at the same pace as before. The Malay Patani 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 Malay identity of the Patani 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 Patani 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.
|Muslim students were even forced to act according to Buddhist teachings|
The Thai administration also perpetrated terrible mass killings of Malay 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 Patani were torn down.
|125 Muslim families were burned alive in the Belukar Samak region alone|
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 Malay Patani people’s daily lives.