Asian Review

Publication Date



Though Islam is a political factor throughout Southeast Asia, this paper argues that Islamic fundamentalism does not necessarily govern political life. It also questions generalizations about the increase in political Islamic fundamentalism in the region perceived by the press and American sympathizers. By sketching the roots of the violent conflict in the far south of Thailand, the predominantly Muslim region of the Kingdom, it argues that the violence has been caused not only by Islamic militants consisting of Thai terrorists and Muslim separatist groups who have sought foreign assistance and fought against the Thai state's oppression but also by the common banditry of ordinary criminals and bureaucrats. The paper does not deny that there are terrorism linkages in the region, but at the same time it questions whether the widely used term "transnational terrorism" explains anything new about the violence. In addition, it also believes that the American "war on terrorism" policy which the Thai government was forced to embrace has worsened the problem and further isolated the Muslims of the south from the center. The paper also criticizes the Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's "cash and gung-ho" style of leadership which has further exacerbated the problem. In the last part of the paper, the author provides recommendations and warns the Thai government to solve the problem of the south quickly and wisely. Otherwise, the Kingdom is highly likely to see not only more violence but also new targets.



First Page


Last Page


Included in

Asian Studies Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.