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Coup Picked PM Vows To Appease Thai Muslims

From Islam Online:

New Thai Interim Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont, right, and Thai coup leader Gen. Sondhi Boonyaratkalin, left, exchange greetings at the Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2006.

New Thai PM Vows End to South Unrest

"I will act on my own conscience as prime minister. I will be friendly with everyone," Surayud said.

BANGKOK — Thailand's new military-appointed Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont vowed on Sunday, September 1 [sic], to heal the nation's political divisions and end unrest in the Muslim-majority south within one year.

"Two urgent problems are the political problems and the southern violence. Solving these requires unity and full cooperation from the public," Surayud told reporters shortly after taking office, reported Agence France-Pressee (AFP).

"I will put these two issues at the top of my agenda," he said. "I will make a great effort to solve these two problems within one year."

The military coup led by Thailand's first ever Muslim chief-of-staff Sonthi Boonyaratglin has brought hopes of peace for the people of the south who have long complained of the heavy-handed policies of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

The Muslim-majority provinces bordering Malaysia have been plagued by unrest since January 2004, and Thaksin's decision to impose emergency rule there in 2005 was widely criticized, especially among the sizable Muslim community.

The measure gave security forces broad immunity from prosecution, which human rights groups say led to extra-judicial killings and other abuses.

Nearly 1,500 people have been killed since the unrest erupted.

Muslims in the south, who make up five percent of the population, have long complained of discrimination in jobs, education and business opportunities.

In 2004, the International Crisis Group (ICG) said the government's failure to address Muslim injustices and open a genuine dialogue with Muslim leaders in the south is the real reason behind unrest in the country.

Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat are the only Muslim-majority provinces in Thailand and were an independent Muslim sultanate until annexed officially a century ago

"I will act on my own conscience as prime minister. I will be friendly with everyone, and will try to listen to all the information if possible, and to meet with every sector of society," Surayud said.

"I will stand firm on good virtues and encourage fairness," he added…

Granted Islam Online has its biases, but it's clear that appeasing the Muslim "unrest" was an important factor — if not the key factor — in the military coup.

Funny how "unrest" always seems to "plague" Muslim areas, isn't it? And how giving them their way is the only solution ever offered to stop these "eruptions."

Despite all their writing courses in journalism school, reporters always seem to slip into the passive voice when writing about Muslim violence. They never want to say who actually is doing what.

Why is that?

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, October 1st, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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