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Ethnicity, Islam and Irredentism: The Malays of Patani

Essay by   •  July 3, 2011  •  Essay  •  740 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,344 Views

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I know that at one point in our lives, we have felt alienation or we've experienced as if we don't belong to a particular group. We may have felt this way maybe because of the people around us thinks that we are totally different from the majority or our cultures and traditions are so different. And the article that I have read is similar to what I have mentioned just now.

The article that I have read is all about the Muslims in Patani, before I go further along into the details of this article that I have read; let me first discuss a brief background of the history of Patani. Patani is a southern province in Thailand, and most of Thailand is comprised of Buddhists when it comes to the dominating religion in the country. And we all know that the neighboring country in the south of Thailand is Malaysia. And Malaysia is mostly comprised of Muslims or followers of Islam when it comes to their religion. Now Patani is nearly situated in the borders of Thailand and Malaysia. And the article mentions that Patani is one of the best examples of where ethnic identies and religious identities are almost inextricable or not free from a constraint or difficulty.

According to the article, the people in Patani are mostly comprised of Muslims. And also, these Muslims are said to be really Malaysian and not Thai Muslims. And it is also said that for the Malays world, the "Malayness" and Islam is virtually indistinguishable from one another. The article also mentions that the Thai government has done almost anything to detach Islam from the Malay ethnic identity; especially in the provinces situated near the border, such as Patani and that the people should call themselves as "Thai Muslims" instead.

And because of this, the so called "Thai Muslims" in Patani are cut off from the Malay world and because of this; this is what caused the Patani Malays to experience irredentism or the feeling of advocating the restoration of their country of any territory formerly belonging to it. As I have read in the article, Patani used to be a part of the Malay land but is now divided into three provinces namely Patani, Yala and Narathiwat. But it was formerly a kingdom from a Malay race and Islam. But the article mentioned that when the Chakri dynasty was established in the late eighteenth, the dynasty had gained permanent control of Patani which then started a commotion between the Malays of Patani and the Thai government. Even though Patani was governed by Malay rajas, the Siamese government had the overall control of the authority. Although the during that era, British forces were trying to colonize Siam that time, the Chakri dynasty was able to evade colonization in Siam but still forced to give up some Malay states but Patani still remained in the Siamese border.

The article mentioned that when the British colonizers took over of the Malay states

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