Southern Muslims in Thailand Band Against Israel's War in Gaza

Dozens of Muslims in Pattani gathered today to oppose the Israeli offensive in Gaza Strip, which has left more than 390 people dead since it began ten days ago. 20 July 2014.

PATTANI — Dozens of Muslims in the southern border province of Pattani gathered today to oppose the Israeli offensive in Gaza Strip, which has left more than 390 people dead since it began ten days ago.

The demonstrators were student activists and local Muslims who said they are horrified by the latest wave of violence in Gaza, especially the deaths of women and children by the Israeli military.

One of the protesters, Sofian Sritulakarn, said she wants the world to realise that Israel is committing war crimes in Palestine and treating Palestinians "as though they were not humans."

"In reality, the land of Palestine belongs to Palestinians. When the Jews arrived, [the Palestinians] allowed them to stay because of their humanitarian hearts," Ms. Sofian said. "What the Jews are doing is a betrayal. Just look at history to see who is right or wrong."

Ms. Sofian urged all Muslims in the southern border provinces to think of their Palestinian "brethren" and make a stand against the war in Gaza. 

"This is happening in the Ramadan month. We should consider how the Palestinians are fasting amid all the starvation, but we have so much to eat," she said, adding that local activists are collecting donations to help Palestinian refugees in Gaza. 

Another demonstrator, a student from Songkhla Rajabhat University who did not give his name, said he is saddened by the lack of response from Muslim countries toward the violence in Gaza, especially Arab nations. 

"What Israel is doing is not only grabbing land, but it's a genocide. Every image and video I have seen is so cruel," the activist said, "But I have seen so little coverage about it in Thai media."

Today's protest followed a recent demonstration in front of Israeli Embassy in Bangkok, in which protesters burned Israel’s national flag and displayed Anti-Israel placards. 

Pattani province is home to nearly 590,000 Muslims, many of whom are of Malay descent. 

More than 4,000 people have been killed since separatist violence broke out in Thailand’s heavily Muslim southern border provinces, including Pattani, in 2004.