Patani is located between the two latitude lines 5˚-8˚ on the north of the equator in middle of South-East Asia, Malay peninsulacomprising nowadays of : Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei and Patani, it is part of the Malay islands, bordering Malaysia from the south, Thailand form the north, Indian Ocean form the west and China sea ( Pacific Ocean ) form the east.
Its area before the Thai occupation is: 50,000 square mile. However, in the present time, there is a struggle to liberate its occupied area 16,000 square mile.
It is comprised of four main states : Patani, Yala, Naratiwat and Stol, in addition to half of Songkhla state. The remaining area is inhibited by a lot of Thai immigrants sent by the Thai government and were settled there to put a pressure on the Patani people to compel them and increase number of Thai Buddhist in these states.
Climate & Land:
Its climate is generally of the tropical zone climate: seasonal rain, fertile land, thick forests covering wide areas, full of large teak trees; one of the best quality and stronger wood kinds, bamboo, coconut palms and other forest production and farm of crops and fruits.
People of Patani are historically and racially part of the Malay people. According to latest statistics, they are about six million person.
Most Patani people are Muslims; there are about 80% of the population, while other 20% are intruders and strangers. So, Muslims were 100% in Patani before those settlers from Thailand came in. A huge number of Muslims are all over in Thailand; their origin is from the captives; taken from Patani by the Thai armies when they invaded it.
Patani people speak Malay language like all the countries in South-East Asia such as: Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei because there is a very deep historical bound among them all. In addition to their Malay nationality, we considered as a title of the Patani Muslim people. Their language is written in Arabic letters and added some additional letters to be suitable according to their language.
However, Thai government made learning and knowing Thai language an obligatory condition for getting any job or governmental office. They also tried to teach the Malay language, since caring about language is tightly connected to the nation caring about its nationality and future. The language is the nation’s national heritage and the culture’s identity which is a supreme need for humanity, hence, when language vanishes from existence nationality, consequently will vanish as well. Since language embodies nationality especially in Patani where any person is Malay race will certainly be Muslim, because Malay people has a deep original relation with Islam.
Spreading of Islam in Patani:
Islam entered Patani in early stages through the merchants who came from the Arabic peninsula across south India to Malay Island. It spread throughout it during the 5th Alhijra century till the country was under the Muslims’ leadership. During the fifteenth century A.D., an Independent Islamic State was established in Patani. This was the foundation for Patani Muslims. They all follow firmly the Islamic traditions and habits.
Economy & Main Crops:
Although Patani is a small state, nevertheless, it is one of the richest states in its region. It is rich with its natural and mineral fortunes such as tin, gold, natural rubber, wood, coconut, rice, fish, oil, natural gas and many others. The national income of the mentioned four states exceeds 35% comparing with the general income of all Thailand which comprises of 71 provinces excluding Patani, especially when it recently is discovered the new excavation of petroleum and natural gas wells in Patani coasts.
That is why Thailand government endeavored and exerted its best whatever it cost to possess and hold Patani tightly, thus it defends its affairs with all military and political ways and by settling the Buddhist people in it so to make them the majority of its population.
Historical Background of Patani Case:
Thailand attempted to occupy Patani since 1603, but Patani Muslims withstood and confronted such Thai-Buddhist attacks. Afterwards, Thailand government made many several attempts to intrude Patani. In 1786 Patani was under their control. It became a subordinate state that pay taxes to the Thai Kingdom. But many Patani revolutions erupted to liberate their land. The furious was the one erupted in 1822 and failed before the Thai forces attacks which spread on the Muslims’ land to destroy their house, devastate their lands, killed a great number of them, executed violence actions against the Patani Muslim people, violated their legal rights and raped their Muslim women. They also eliminated and abolished Islam’ sacramental rituals and places such as destroying mosques and religious schools and many other violence actions. In addition, thousands of the Patani fighters and civilians were taken to the Thai capital (Bangkok) walking barefoot, chained feet, and tightly tight with iron and bamboo in their feet and ears. That is why we can see till today a big number of Muslims in Bangkok originated to these Patani captives carried by the Thai armies when invaded Patani. Since then, the Patani revolutions against the Thai occupation never stop.
In 1902, Thai government eliminated the domination of the Patani sultans and the taxes to make it directorates or province under its domination directly subjected to it and announced that Patani is part of Thailand after conducting a contract with the British in 1909.
Attempts Made for Patani Liberation:
Since 1948 many frequent attempts, peaceful solution suggested by the people and the armed groups and liberation fronts in Patani were made to get their rights back from the Thai-Buddhist occupation to get the full right of liberation and independence. This struggle materialized in the violent armed confrontations for going on the strife. But the Thai government arrested the leaders of these movements and groups to practice cruel and brutal genocide against the Patani people.
Today, there are several liberation movements in Patani. One of the most popular movement in Patani is “ Patani United Liberation Organization”(PULO). The most important goals is to resist the Thai-Buddhist actions aiming at exterminating Islam and Muslims. There is also the appearance of the Patani students’ revolutionary movement, which is called “The General Union of the Patani Revolutionary Students”. It is a squad among the Patani revolution squads, which undertakes to organize the students’ revolutionary action and search for cooperation methods with liberal students’ organizations for fighting the occupation, imperialism and Zionism.
Patani movement considered the Zionism entity one of its biggest enemies due good diplomatic relations between Israel and Thailand, as Zionism support the Thai government with all intelligence to devastate Islam and Muslims in Patani.
Thai Government Policy towards the Patani People:
Thai government settled a lot of Buddhists in Patani to decrease Muslims number. It gave them the right of settlement to weaken the Patani people economically and socially. It governed the education, spread the Thai language instead of Malay language, isolated Patani from the outside world, prohibited international journalists from publishing and announcing the Patani case and considered it an interior problem which the international law not allowed to interfer in, spread the Buddhist temples in the Muslims’ region to convert them into Buddhist areas and changed the places’ name and the names of Muslims persons.
Current Situation in Patani:
Observers see that Patani people are oppressed and that Muslims are inferior to the Thai people in treatment. Muslims are not given sufficient chances of education, learning and their material state is weak. Also, they have only limited chance in official jobs in governmental staff. All that caused several problems to Patani Muslims, although Muslims do not suffer today religious problems relating to conducting their religious rituals which confronting many Muslim minorities across the world.
After all, Patani people will one day get back their raped rights sooner or later with the support of the whole independent people, Muslims, and Arab Nation in all over the world