Islamic religious leaders urge BRN to stop insurgent attacks during Ramadan holy month

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NARATHIWAT, June 9 – Islamic religious leaders in Thailand’s restive southern region on Sunday urged the Thai government to negotiate with the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) to stop insurgent attacks during the upcoming Ramadan as the third round of peace talk will be held this week.

The demand came as secretary-general of the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre (SBPAC) Pol Col Thawee Sodsong met with imam, or Islamic religious leaders, from 634 mosques in Narathiwat’s 13 districts to hear their views on the BRN five-point demands before Thai authorities meet with the BRN representatives again in the Malaysian capital on June 13.

The Islamic committees in the three southern border provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat have conducted surveys among the religious leaders on the BRN demands and compiled the views to submit to the SBPAC today.

In the survey results, most of imam said they agreed with and accepted Malaysia as the mediator for the peace talks.

The religious leaders also proposed to Col Thawee to convey their demands to the BRN representatives on Thursday to stop conducting the attacks during the upcoming one-month Ramadan which will be from July 7 to August 7 this year.

They said about 80 per cent of the population in the region are Muslims and they have to observe fasting and maintain proper behaviour.

The imam also urged that both sides–the Thai government and the BRN–to take one step back to find fair and concrete solutions in the upcoming peace dialogue. The process could also be done gradually until they reach a mutual agreement to create peace in the violence-plagued provinces.