The Muslim Malay Community in Southern Thailand: A ‘Small People’ Facing Existential Uncertainty

Ritsumeikan Journal of Asia Pacific Studies, Vol. 27, pp. 53-63, February 2010

13 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2010  

Otto Federico von Feigenblatt

Carlos Albizu University

Date Written: February 13, 2010

Abstract

This article aims to apply Abulof's concept of "small peoples" to the case of the Muslim Malay Community in Southern Thailand. Existential uncertainty as an intersubjective reality is the defining characteristic of a "small people." Moreover, the article explores how the Muslim Malay community in the South of Thailand is facing ethnonational existential threats due to the assimilationist policies of the central government. The Patani-Malay language and the Islamic religion are threatened by policies favoring a homogenous national culture based on a unitary nation-state held together by the three pillars of nation, monarchy, and religion. Finally, the article concludes that one of the root causes of the Southern insurgency is the perceived slow death of the Patani-Malay ethnonationality by a significant number of traditional leaders and youths. Some "soft" approaches to deal with the intersubjective reality of existential uncertainty experienced by the Muslim Malay minority are also provided as tentative recommendations.

Keywords: deep South of Thailand, development, ethnic conflict, Islam in Southeast Asia, Muslim Malays

Suggested Citation

von Feigenblatt, Otto Federico, The Muslim Malay Community in Southern Thailand: A ‘Small People’ Facing Existential Uncertainty (February 13, 2010). Ritsumeikan Journal of Asia Pacific Studies, Vol. 27, pp. 53-63, February 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1589021

Otto Federico Von Feigenblatt (Contact Author)

Carlos Albizu University ( email )

2173 NW 99th Avenue
Miami, FL 33172
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.vonfeigenblatt.com

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