BANGKOK — Muslims in Thailand took to social media this past week to debate the merits of the Cabinet’s endorsement of a draft law that would permit same sex marriage.
One of the first shots was fired by a group called Muslim for Peace, who urged its followers last week to oppose the civil partnership bill, though the post was later deleted amid fierce criticism from other Muslims. The draft, approved by the Cabinet on July 7, has yet to be debated by the Parliament
“We fully oppose the civil partnership bill,” the now-deleted statement wrote. “We found that it will cause inevitable damage to society. It may go against the Constitution and many laws that are committed to the natural form of families.”
The group added, “It will also cause national unrest. The welfare given [to the LGBT couples] will deepen inequality and injustice.”
If the bill is adopted by the Parliament, same-sex unions would be legalized, and the couples would be entitled to many of the same benefits and legal rights as of heterosexual couples.
Other religious groups said Islamic teaching should only be applied to Muslims living in Thailand.
“If there’s a law that goes against Islamic teachings, we will oppose it,” Thai Muslim Student Association said in a statement to Khaosod English on Tuesday. “However, we will respect the law and will not do anything to violate or overthrow it.”
“Although the same-sex marriage bill contradicts with our faith, we respect different opinions and faiths since each party have different standards of moral,” the association said.
Another Muslim Facebook page “Religious Hotline” also urged fellow Muslims to remain calm with the new legislation, since the law does not prevent Muslims from adhering to their beliefs.
“Although the bill contradicts with Islamic principles, it’s [the Buddhists’] right to do so since they don’t prevent us from ibadah,” the page wrote, using an Arabic term for worship.
The statement, which also called upon Muslims to show love to people of other faiths, blamed the outrage on hardliners who follow a stricter interpretation of Islam.
“As some Wahhabi groups came out to oppose the bill,” the page admin said. “I think it would make the Buddhists feel that we are extremists, and it may negatively affect us in many ways.”
The Sheikhul Islam Office, the national authority on religious matters, could not be reached for comment as of press time.
There are about 3 million Muslims in Thailand, mostly in the southern region.