Thailand's Islamic spiritual leader visits restive south

20:23, September 27, 2010      

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The Islamic spiritual leader of Thailand, Chula Rajmontri Asis Pithakkhumpol visited a southernmost province of Narathiwat on Monday.

His first visit to the southern border province after his appointment as 18th Chula Rajmontri was warmly welcomed by local spiritual leaders, civilian officials, police and military of about a thousand.

He said the purpose of his visit was to interact with local Muslims in the province, spiritual leaders and local leaders related to religious organizations. Chula Rajmontri said he would like to see spiritual leaders in Narathiwat cooperate with the authorities to crate peace in the province.

The on-going unrests in three southernmost provinces -- Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat -- and in four adjacent districts in Songkhla province are what he concerns most.

"I would like to ask all sides to create peace, justice and mutual understanding so that local people in the region can live their lives peacefully regardless of religious diversity as they once used to in the past. This is the main aim for my trip today," a local website Kom Chad Luek quoted him as saying.

During the past six years since the violence renewed in the region in 2004, almost 8,000 insurgent attacks have taken place in the southernmost provinces -- Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, which once were part of Sultanate of Pattani State. The majority of people there is Malay Muslims.

Source: Xinhua


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