Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Who is promoting jihad in Southern Thailand?

A photo of mine, used without permission, to illustrate an article calling for jihad in Southern Thailand.

Who is promoting jihad in Southern Thailand?

The short and somewhat awkward answer is: me.

At a recent seminar about the conflict in Southern Thailand there was a presentation about jihadist websites and magazines calling for holy war in Southern Thailand.

One of my photographs take a couple years ago in Pattani province was used, without my permission and without remuneration, in an article calling for Indonesian Muslims to go to Southern Thailand and fight a jihad against the Thai infidels.

Here is the original photo:

The less factitious answer to who is promoting jihad in Southern Thailand is Sabili magazine.

This Indonesian magazine, along with Jihadmagz and other Indonesian/Malaysian websites, apparently has links to the Indonesian Mujahidin Council (MMI) and the regional terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah or JI.

They use typical extremist non-sense about the duties of Muslims to wage war against infidels who 'invade Muslim lands'.

To reinforce their argument, they employ widely available footage of Thai military human rights abuses such as the infamous video taken during the crackdown on Muslim protesters in Tak Bai.

They also employ the logic of proximity.

If Malaysia and Indonesia are geographically proximate, the logical destination of jihad for able bodied Muslims from Southeast Asia is Southern Thailand.

The question of whether there are foreign fighters or foreign extremists supporting southern insurgents has always been a point of speculation.

There have been some case like the 'accidental jihadist' that Philip Golingai wrote about and much speculation about tacit support from some in Malaysia but the southern insurgency largely remains an internal matter for the Thai state.

Yet one wonders, as the conflict festers into its fifth year of open hostilities, how long it will remain an internal matter.

*Thanks to P.T. for her research on this matter

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