Monday, October 8, 2007

Many faces of Islam

by Imtiyaz Yusuf from The Bangkok Post

The two major schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence, namely Hanafi and Shafii, are both present within Thai Islam. But there is also the presence of the Wahhabi or the Salafi school of thought also known as kaum muda (Malay) or khana mai (Thai) i.e. those who prefer to follow a more puritan form of Islamic religious interpretation, ritual and social practice. This puritan was introduced in Thailand around 80 years ago and is now spreading in the various parts of the country except in the deep South where Islamic practice is rooted in the Shafii school identified with Malay ethnicity. Initially, the coming of the Wahhabi Islam aroused a lot of tension and conflict within the general Thai Muslim community, which has now subsided and led to the spirit of intrareligious co-existence.

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