Prasarn Sricharoen., a representative from Thai Sheikhul Islam Office
Bangkok, 29 Jumadil Akhir 1438/2 March 2017 (MINA) – Thai Muslims appreciate Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his Islamic sensitivity, a representative from the Southeast Asian country’s Sheikhul Islam Office (SIO) told Anadolu Agency on Monday.
“I cannot speak on behalf of all Thai citizens, but as Thai Muslims we appreciate this president for his Islamic sensitivity,” Prasarn Sricharoen said at the headquarters of the SIO, the government’s Office of the Chularatchamontri, in Bangkok.
He praised the Turkish government for creating a “comfortable” living atmosphere for Muslims in recent years.
“We are closely following Turkey-related news. We especially care about the more comfortable state of Islamic living in recent years. For example, the lifting of bans on headscarves in parliament and public buildings,” Sricharoen said.
“It is important for people to comfortably live according to their religious beliefs,” he stressed.
Interfaith harmony in Thailand
Sricharoen underlined that people from different religious backgrounds — including Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Taoists and Hindus — have been living in harmony in Thailand.
“A limited number of people intend to create misunderstanding between these religions,” he said, adding that Thai Muslims have been working to eradicate such misapprehension.
“Everyone is equal before Thai laws, and in reality there is no discrimination between Muslims and Buddhists in society. These two communities are living in harmony,” he said.
He also denied claims of the Daesh terrorist group’s presence in the country.
“Thai Muslims have no direct relations with Daesh,” he said, highlighting the anti-Daesh campaigns launched by the SIO in the community.
Referring to the highly revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej who passed away in October, Sricharoen said that during the monarch’s 70-year reign, Muslims had received significant support, the Quran had been translated to Thai and assistance had been provided for the construction of mosques.
Thailand — where Islam was introduced four centuries ago through Malay and Chinese Muslims as well as merchants — is currently home to nearly 10 million Muslims, according to Sricharoen.
There are around 4,000 mosques across the country, including 200 in the capital, he added. (T/RS5/RS1)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)