[Paleopsych] Nation Multimedia (Thailand): 21 Islamic schools 'fostering militancy' face closure
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Thu Jul 29 21:47:38 UTC 2004
21 Islamic schools 'fostering militancy' face closure
Bangkok's Independent Newspaper
Published on Jul 27, 2004
Authorities yesterday threatened to shut down 21 Islamic boarding
schools in the deep South and throw their owners in jail, after
accusing them of being breeding grounds for militants.
Intelligence information indicated that students and teachers from the
21 schools, known locally as pondoks, have been involved in creating
violence in the region, Deputy Education Minister Sutham Saengprathoom
The Education Ministry will summon the schools' owners and teachers to
ask for their cooperation in the detection of militant movements in
their respective schools, he said. If the owners refuse to cooperate,
they will be imprisoned for six months or fined Bt50,000 - or both, he
said, adding that the schools will also be shut down.
Of the 21 schools, five are in Yala while there are eight each in
Pattani and Narathiwat.
The government has clear information that teachers at two of the
schools have indoctrinated their students with anti-government
sentiment, Sutham said.
He said staff at the two schools were indirectly involved in violence
in the region.
"Within a couple of days the ministry will summon owners and teachers
of the two schools first, and the other 19 will be called later when
we find clear information," he said.
Sutham declined to name the two schools in question.
A spate of violence has gripped the region since the beginning of the
year, claiming more than 200 lives. Among the dead are the 108 Islamic
militants gunned down by authorities during a series of attacks on
several security outposts on April 28.
Assassinations aimed mostly at security officers take place on a daily
basis in the region. The government has blamed separatists and
home-grown militants for the violence.
Interior Minister Bhokin Bhalakula said yesterday he was scheduled to
meet with Malaysian officials in Phuket next month to ask Kuala Lumpur
to hunt down some 30 suspected separatists.
The names of the suspected separatists were submitted to the Malaysian
government during Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's visit to the
country in April.
Kuala Lumpur is yet to take any action because it does not have clear
information about the suspects, Sutham said, adding the government
will submit more details of the suspects to concerned Malaysian
In a related development yesterday, a leaflet critical of Thaksin and
the Fourth Army Region Commander Pisan Wattawongkiri was distributed
in Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla.
The leaflet portrays Thaksin pointing his right finger and a
Thai-language caption saying, "I know. . . I see . . . I could reach
out so I am the top commander."
It also shows a picture of Pisan holding an M16 over the caption: "He
acts like a babydoes everything to be a field marshal.''
An official said authorities were attempting to find the source of the
leaflet and the motivation behind its distribution.
The leaflet is different from previous leaflets distributed in the
region due to it being written in Thai and not Malay, Sutham said.
He declined to offer an interpretation of the meaning of the leaflet
or its significance.
Nation Multimedia Group
44 Moo 10 Bang Na-Trat KM 4.5, Bang Na district, Bangkok 10260
Tel 66-2-325-5555, 66-2-317-0420 and 66-2-316-5900 ; Fax 66-2-317-2071
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