Waking Up to the Terror Threat in Thailand

(Straits Times-Singapore)John R. Bradley - In the heart of Thailand's troubled deep south, where a Muslim separatist uprising has so far this year left more than 200 dead, is the brand new, multimillion-dollar campus of Yala Islamic College. The president, Dr. Ismail Lutfi, is a graduate of a hardline Wahhabi institution, Riyadh's Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University. Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister Thamarak Isarangura has said the Thai government believes there are military training sites in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Egypt where Thai Muslim separatists are trained to execute terror attacks back home. The Saudi Arabia-based International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) remains the largest donor to Islamic causes in southern Thailand. One senior Thai government official in Pattani said he was aware of the first signs of "ethnic cleansing" (his words) in Narathiwat, one of the south's Muslim-majority provinces, where some Thai Buddhist families have been told to leave under the threat of violence.

2004-05-27 00:00:00

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