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Khon Kaen: Buddhists Cite Violence Fears in Bid to Withhold Mosque Permit

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No mosque sign

No mosque sign. Image: Albert Mestre.

Buddhists in northern Thailand have filed a petition to stop a Muslim community’s efforts to register a recently constructed mosque, citing fears of violence similar to that in the country’s insurgency-stricken Deep South.

Pramual Pimsen, president of the Buddhist Assembly for National Security, told BenarNews that he led about 60 Buddhists in Khon Kaen province to submit a petition with the local governor on Monday seeking to dismiss the registration of the mosque in Ban Lerng Peau village.

“Local Buddhists and those in the nearby village agreed that terrorism has spread widely and imprinted a bad perception in people’s mind. The people are not feeling welcome toward the mosque because it may induce violence such as what happened in Deep South…,” the petition said, according to Pramual.

“Buddhist establishments in Khon Kaen therefore have asked the governor to nip it in the bud, dismissing the mosque registration request,” he said.

The governor of Khon Kaen could not be reached for comment, while a national Ministry of Interior official said he needed to study the complaint before he could comment. Khon Kaen province has a population of 1.8 million, of whom, 3,000 are Muslim.

Of Thailand’s 67 million people, about 4 million are Muslim. Almost 2 million Muslims are concentrated in the Deep South region next to the Malaysian border.

Since a long-running separatist insurgency by Malay-speaking, Muslim rebels re-ignited in 2004, nearly 7,000 people have been killed in violence associated with the rebellion in the region, where Buddhists form the minority. According to Deep South Watch, a think-tank based in the region, Buddhists comprise about half of this death toll.

Full story: BenarNews

Mariyam Ahmad

Copyright ©2017, BenarNews. Used with the permission of BenarNews.

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