Nearly 1,300 people have died over the past couple of years in Thailand's southern provinces, mostly at the hands of "insurgents", apparently an MSM code word for Muslim separatists agitating for an independent Islamic state. According to a local Islamic cleric:
"Everyone is scared because we don't know who is behind the violence," Muslim cleric Abdulrozak Alee, 52, said at Narathiwat Central Mosque, the biggest mosque in the southern province that borders Malaysia.Don't know who's behind the violence? Try checking with your congregation. Even the AFP writer gets in on the act:
But exactly who is behind the violence remains a mystery, with experts pointing to a complex web of Islamic separatists and organized criminals.
The Muslim community, of course, is quick to project culpability elsewhere:
"It's about gangsters controlling the black market. But the government does not catch real criminals. Instead, they catch innocent people. The government is not sincere about solving this crisis," Rusdi said, sitting near the mosque.
Muslim cleric Abdulrozak agreed.
"We want to see sincerity from the government and we need understanding between the government and Muslim population," he said.