Phetchaburi Muslim Community Protests Bacon Factory

Saying they would suffer indignity and environmental damage, protesters from a Muslim community in Phetchaburi province present a petition yesterday against a bacon-making factory that would open close to three mosques.

PHETCHABURI — A group of Muslims rallied yesterday against a food company’s plan to construct a pork processing plant near their community southwest of Bangkok.

Around 50 members of a Muslim community in the Cha Am district of Phetchaburi province submitted a petition to officials over the construction of a facility they say is an indignity to their faith.

In the letter, the residents said they are opposed to a plan by Hua Hin Inter Foods Co. to build a factory for making bacon, sausages and ham near the Muslim-majority community. Pork is considered unclean in the Islamic faith and consuming it is forbidden.

“We have considered the plan, and we believe the factory should not be located in this area because 99 percent of the people are Muslims,” the letter said. “People in the community feel it will violate their livelihoods and practice of Islam.”

Three mosques are clustered near to the site of the planned factory. The letter also raised concerns that wastewater from the pork processing may contaminate sources of drinking water in the area.

Nearly 300 people have signed the petition so far. Nattawut Petchpromsorn of the provincial governor’s office accepted the letter on behalf of authorities.

There are approximately 4 million Muslims in Thailand, according to the 2010 census, amounting to around 6 percent of Thai population, which is predominantly Buddhist. More than half of Thailand’s Muslim population – 2,200,000 – live in southern provinces.

A municipal official said authorities have yet to grant a license for the company to construct the bacon factory.

“Currently, it is under the process of announcing the plan to the people, and to collect their opinion,” Nat Areekul, director of the municipal factory registration division, said yesterday.

 

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