Pattani mosque holds first-ever community dialogue

The series in southern Thailand opens important discussions on topics beyond religion.

By Irfarn Jumdukor for Khabar Southeast Asia in Pattani

May 06, 2014
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In a significant step toward building civil society in the Deep South, the Pattani Grand Mosque is hosting a series of open community dialogues – the first at a place of worship in the region.

  • The Pattani Grand Mosque in March hosted the first in a series of community dialogues. [Irfarn Jumdukor/Khabar]

    The Pattani Grand Mosque in March hosted the first in a series of community dialogues. [Irfarn Jumdukor/Khabar]

The series is intended as a platform for religious leaders and locals to exchange information, opinions and ideas about the teachings of Islam, politics and other general interest topics, organisers say. They envision holding dialogues every two months.

More than 200 Muslims attended the inaugural installment on March 28th, just two days before national Senate elections. The topic was Islam and politics, and it was broadcast on local cable network YCN and the region's Pattani-Melayu-language radio network.

In the past, events at the Pattani Grand Mosque were limited to spiritual matters. Invited guest speakers spoke exclusively on religious matters.

But the mosque's committee agreed that because of its central location, the mosque could provide a forum for more wide-ranging topics, its Imam Abdunroseh Munsoh said.

"Islam recognizes the importance of public administration, leadership and politic management issues," Waederamae Mamingji, chairman of the Pattani Islamic Council, told Khabar Southeast Asia. "The Prophet Muhammad taught his followers about the importance of fairness and encouraged them to study how this related to political affairs, because just administration by those in power can lead to happiness and peace."

Local resident and attendee Abidin Bin Mamah, 32, found the event helpful.

"I never really understood the importance of politics, how it affects our daily lives," he told Khabar. "We all need to play our part in choosing our leaders and offering solutions to the current situation in the region. If we just ignore these issues nothing will change."

The series events are intended to be an open forum in which local residents can bring up any topics of public concern.

"It is a good discussion space for people who want to suggest ways of developing the community," commented Ninawawee Yaratnu, a 23-year-old student at Prince of Songkhla University's Pattani campus.

"Personally, I would like the organisers to consider as future discussion topics, issues related to education and cultural preservation. That could make local residents-- especially the younger generation-- more aware of educational opportunities and proud of their culture," he said.

"Events like these if attended by both parents and children, can help strengthen family bonds that are important for keeping kids from bad influences which might lead them to commit crimes. Or fall prey to the kind of brainwashing that has started so much violence in the region," he added.

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    • ramli
      May 6, 2014 @ 05:05:05AM
    • This information is very useful for us fellow Muslims.

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