"The Muslim Minority Movement in Southern Thailand: From the Periphery to the Center."

Speaker: Drs. Ahmad Suaedy, Executive Director, Wahid Institute, Jakarta, Indonesia.


Drs. Ahmad Suaedy is currently the Executive Director of the Wahid Institute in Jakarta.  A founder of the Institute of Social and Islamic Studies as well as researcher at the Institute for Interfaith Dialogue in Indonesia both in Yogyakarta, Mr. Suaedy has edited numerous books. One of the titles is Islam, the Constitution, and Human Rights: the Problem of Religious Freedom in Indonesia (2009). He has also published in journals and in both national and international mass media. His current research supported by the Nippon Foundation is on Muslim minorities in South Thailand, South Philippines, and the Malaysian state of Penang.




Dr Suaedy gave an overview of the current situation in Southern Thailand as well as a historical background to the conflict. He pointed out that Islam was first introduced to Southern Thailand by missionaries from Aceh, Indonesia. He emphasised that Islam in Southern Thailand belonged to the “periphery” as he put it, with Islam in the Middle East being at the “centre.” The conflict in Southern Thailand can be resolved, he noted, by granting greater autonomy to the Muslims in that region. It is to be hoped, he observed, that progress will be made towards mutual accommodation in the affected region. He also expressed the hope that Thailand will take positive steps to end the ongoing marginalisation of the Muslim community in Southern Thailand by providing better education, job and business opportunities to its Muslim citizens. He pointed out that Muslims in majority Muslim nations sometimes tend to forget their brethren in Muslim minority countries. He reminded the audience of the need for international Muslim solidarity and cooperation.

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