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Thailand’s Deep South not suitable for ISIS: experts

Pai Mosque in Mae Hong Son

Abdulroning Suetair says the methods of ISIS and the Deep South separatist groups are very different. Both may use violence, but the chances of local groups joining up with ISIS are slim, due to the lack of various enabling factors.

“Unless there are new factors or conditions to enable local people to engage with ISIS or other Muslim communities overseas, such as religious factors (a condition experts are wary of, since ISIS grew out of religious factors), the Deep South will probably not resort to extremism. However, the government should not exacerbate the current situation, such as by building a Buddhist Park [in the area],” said Abdulroning.

Abdulroning went on to say that ISIS and extremist influence can be prevented through 1) removing all enabling conditions; 2) protecting against foreign influence, since there are as yet no individuals in the Deep South involved with ISIS, unlike in Malaysia, Indonesia, or the Philippines; and 3) strengthening local people’s ability to resist extremism through checks and balances and dialogues within and between communities.

Nevertheless, there is still the possibility that ISIS ideologies will take root in the region. This is possible through youths who use social media and are able to receive ideas in the absence of a formal organization, such as by receiving ideas online and immediately joining up.

Read more: prachatai.org

Muhammad Dueramae,
Prachatai

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