We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more Patani United Liberation Organization - Oxford Islamic Studies Online
Select Translation What is This? Selections include: The Koran Interpreted, a translation by A.J. Arberry, first published 1955; The Qur'an, translated by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem, published 2004; or side-by-side comparison view
Chapter: verse lookup What is This? Select one or both translations, then enter a chapter and verse number in the boxes, and click "Go."
:
  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Look It Up What is This? Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Next Result

Patani United Liberation Organization

By:
M. Ladd Thomas
Source:
The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World What is This? Provides comprehensive scholarly coverage of the full geographical and historical extent of Islam

Related Content

Patani United Liberation Organization

A Muslim separatist organization in Thailand, the Patani United Liberation Organization (PULO) was established in 1968 by Tenku Bira Kotanila, who claimed to speak on behalf of Malay Muslims living in the four southern Thai provinces of Pattani (spelled Patani in Malay), Narathiwat, Yala, and Satun. Its goal is to detach these provinces from Thailand and combine them into an independent state based on Islamic principles. The creation of such a state is considered essential in order to preserve the “Malayness” and Islamic way of life of the local Malay Muslims, which PULO perceives to be threatened by the assimilationist policies of successive Thai governments. PULO also considers Thailand to be an occupying power from which independence can be wrested only through the use of armed force.

PULO's emphasis on protecting the Malay and Islamic character of these Malay Muslims through achieving independence for the area serves as the basis for its political mobilization efforts, since the wide appeal of the agenda cuts across social classes and secular and religious boundaries; it has proved particularly attractive to younger, more militant Malay Muslims. It has also attracted moral, financial, and other support from Malaysian individuals and organizations associated either directly or indirectly with the Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS), which draws most of its political support from Muslims in Malaysian states bordering Thailand. Another source of external support is the Middle East, where financial contributions are made to PULO, usually in the name of charity, by some governments, organizations like the Islamic Call Society in Libya, and a few wealthy individuals. Furthermore, one faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has provided training in Syria for small groups of PULO guerrillas.

PULO has a fairly sophisticated organizational structure with a central committee, headed by a chairman, at the top. Under the central committee is a secretariat with political, economic, military, and foreign sections. Policy-making headquarters are in Mecca, and operational headquarters are in Kelantan, Malaysia. Within Thailand, PULO guerrillas conduct both military and political activities.

In 1981 PULO claimed twenty thousand members, a figure that probably was exaggerated. Independent estimates of PULO guerrillas operating in three of the provinces (no separatist guerrilla activity has been noted in Satun) have previously ranged from around two hundred to six hundred. In the early 1990s, however, PULO's membership was smaller than before, and the number of guerrillas was thought to be fewer than a hundred. This is largely owing to the fact that in the mid-1980s Saudi authorities became disturbed by PULO activities, such as openly issuing citizen identification cards in the name of the Patani Republic to Malay Muslim workers from Thailand in Saudi Arabia. Following a raid of PULO headquarters in Mecca, in which staff members were arrested and about seven hundred PULO members were deported, Tenku Bira Kotanila was replaced as chairman by Dr. Ar-rong Moorang. These developments left the organization in disarray, and it is still trying to regroup.

See also THAILAND.

Bibliography

  • Che Man, W. K.Muslim Separatism: The Moros of Southern Philippines and the Malays of Southern Thailand. Singapore and New York: Oxford University Press, 1990. Includes the most detailed information available to the public as regards the organization and activities of the Patani United Liberation Organization and other Muslim separatist groups in South Thailand.
  • Dulyakasem, Uthai. “The Emergence and Escalation of Ethnic Nationalism: The Case of the Muslim Malays in Southern Siam.” In Islam and Society in Southeast Asia, edited by Taufik Abdullah and Sharon Siddique, pp. 208–249. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1986. Perceptive examination of the factors explaining the emergence and development of ethnic nationalism and separatist organizations among the Malay Muslims of South Thailand.
  • Reveron, Derek S., and Jeffrey Stevenson Murer. Flashpoints in the War on Terrorism. New York: Routledge, 2006.
  • Satha-Anand, Chaiwat. Islam and Violence: A Case Study of Violent Events in the Four Southern Provinces, Thailand, 1976–1981. Tampa: Department of Religious Studies, University of South Florida, 1986. Discusses in some depth acts of violence in South Thailand involving Malay Muslim separatist organizations, including the Patani United Liberation Organization, and shows how Islam is used to rationalize political violence.
  • Satha-Anand, Chaiwat. The Life of This World: Negotiated Muslim Lives in Thai Society. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Academic, 2005.
  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Look It Up What is This? Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Next Result
Oxford University Press

© 2021. All Rights Reserved. Cookie Policy | Privacy Policy | Legal Notice