Thai Govt Tries to Quell Muslim Insurgency

November 10, 2006


Source: Houston Chronicle

Wire Service: AP

Tears flowed as the poor Muslim farmer recalled the day one of her seven children disappeared after evening prayers.

Now, a year later, Rosamoh Sulong simply wants to know if her son, the family breadwinner, is alive.

"I'm hopeful that the prime minister will help search for my son," she said, after handing a written appeal to interim Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont.

Surayud pledged to investigate the case of her son, 21-year-old Abdullah Salam, as part of his appeal to Muslims here in southern Thailand, where a bloody Islamic insurgency has raged for nearly three years. His promise to eradicate injustice against Muslims comes amid fears that many will join groups that are believed to want a homeland independent from the predominantly Buddhist country.

Since taking office Oct. 1, the ex-army commander has apologized for the wrongdoing of the former government, joined in dialogues with hundreds of Muslim youth, revived a once-effective organization for settling local conflicts and even announced that he would support the limited enforcement of Islamic law in Muslim-dominated provinces.