State Multiculturalism and Multiculturalism of the Melayu Muslims: A case study of the dialogue on the Idea of Multiculturalism in Southern Thailand


  • Muhammad Ilyas Yahprung Faculty of Political Science, Ramkhamhaeng University


Multiculturalism, Ulama, Malayu Muslims Patani, National Security Policy


Objective This article aims at studying the two keys issues: 1) To investigate the concept of multiculturalism as understood, and employed by the Thai authority as state’s policy to solve problems of the unrest in the three provinces of southern Thailand, which are reflected in the National Security Policy’s papers and other related documents. The study focuses on the understandings of multiculturalist idea by state officers who implement those policy 2) To study on how multiculturalism is understood, interpreted and re-interpreted by the Malay Muslims in the three southern provinces of Thailand, particularly, by those of Islamic learned men (ulama), local leaders of a civil society organizations (CSOs), and their response to the pursuing of multicultural policy by the Thai state.

Methodology Qualitative research employing documentary as well as keys informant’s in-depth interview. Texts analysis was utilized to compare and relating data in order to meet the objectives of the research.

Research findings The study found that the Thai authority utilizes the concept of multiculturalism as a tool so that cultural diversity is managed and controlled under the Thai state, the emphasize was placed at the Buddhists and the Muslims to live together. The understanding of multiculturalism by the Thai state is inherently flaws as it avoids addressing structural problems, particularly, that of the issue of power. The indigenous intellectuals and local CSOs argue that if the Thai is really serious about multiculturalism it must be implement the policy of power sharing and decentralization so that to give local people to be able to manage their own affairs, particularly, as regards to natural resources. In addition, multiculturalism is interpreted differently among Islamic learned men, depends on their affiliation to school of thoughts, however, all have agreed that the main idea is to respect differences in religious beliefs and practices.

Contributions: Multiculturalism as understood by different sectors of the society be it state, people, religious learned men, and the CSOs, according to this research can be shared by one another in order to bridge the gap among those sectors. The state in particular can appropriate the findings to correct their implementation of the multicultural policy in southern Thailand.


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How to Cite

Yahprung ม. . (2022). State Multiculturalism and Multiculturalism of the Melayu Muslims: A case study of the dialogue on the Idea of Multiculturalism in Southern Thailand. Journal of Islamic Studies, Prince of Songkla University, 13(1), 228–253. Retrieved from



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