Thailand Rejects Criticism from Muslim Nations Over Handling of Unrest in South

October 19, 2005

Source: Reuters

On October 19, 2005 Reuters reported, "Thailand attacked the world's largest body of Islamic nations on Thursday over its criticism of the Buddhist government's handling of separatist unrest in its Muslim-majority south in which nearly 1,000 people have died.

Bangkok accused the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) of 'disseminating misperception and misinformation' about the violence-hit region in a statement which said the unrest was caused by religious conflict.

OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said in the statement earlier this week he had 'deep concern and preoccupation' about the 'continued acts of violence in southern Thailand against Muslims', and urged dialogue as the only way to restore peace and security.

'The statement raises doubt as to where the OIC Secretariat stands with regard to the efforts to bring peace and stability to the three southern provinces of Thailand,' the Thai Foreign Ministry said.

In June, a delegation from the OIC, of which mainly Buddhist Thailand is an 'observer', said the unrest in the region -- a former Muslim sultanate with a long history of separatism -- was not a religious conflict."