Thailand: December 17, 2004


The government has arrested four Islamic teachers for promoting Islamic terrorism. The men were flown north, to the capital, Bangkok, to remove them from mobs of their young supporters. These young men, many with experience working for smugglers and criminal gangs, are thought to be planning many more attacks against government and Buddhist targets in the south. The Islamic radicals believe all infidels (non-Moslems) should be driven out of the southern provinces, and these areas should either join Moslem Malaysia, or become independent.  The southern provinces have a population of some 3.5 million. These Moslem areas were taken over by Buddhist Thailand about a century ago. There has always been tension, but the popularity of Islamic radicalism has made violence popular. Nearly 600 people have been killed by the violence in the south so far this year. 


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