More on this story. While the prime minister says Sharia's criminal law aspects would not be considered, validating the jihadists' reason for fighting and granting a partial concession will only embolden them to fight for more. Then there is the matter of the inequality enshrined in the Sharia law in general. Suppose, for example, a woman in Yala would rather have her inheritance decided under Thai law, because she is, after all, Thai. Also unresolved is the legal status of non-Muslims, a particularly slippery slope which the country's Buddhist organizations seem to recognize.
"PM favours admin zone for South," by Wassana Nanuam and Waedao Hari for the Bangkok Post, June 15:
The government is exploring the idea of proclaiming the South's three predominantly Muslim provinces a special administrative zone as a solution to the region's unrest.
But even before the idea has been fully explored, Buddhist organisations yesterday came out in opposition.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday said during his weekly television talk show that turning Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat into a special administrative zone would be acceptable to the government. However, the proposal must be in line with the constitution.
He also warned that the proposed term "special administrative zone" must not create a misleading impression.
"The term could lead to confusion," he said. "Some even go so far as to call it a self-rule area, which is not so," Mr Abhisit said.
"The primary requirement is that it [the special zone] must come under the constitution. Thailand is an indivisible kingdom."
The prime minister said some forms of special administration in terms of the economic and financial management would be acceptable.
He said the application of certain Islamic shariah laws regarding inheritance and other family affairs in the proposed area was possible, although Islamic laws regarding criminal offences would not be considered.
"But the issue of direct election of their own leaders is not certain," he said.
The prime minister said he had information of the existence of insurgent groups but details of their structure as an organisation and their line of command were sketchy.
The government would not negotiate with insurgents....
Also from Jihad Watch: Thailand: Jihad against Buddhist construction workers.
For more on this subject check out Islamic Crusades 4: Lessons From the Thai Jihad: