A community in northeastern Thailand has voted down a Muslim cleric’s request to register a house of worship a mosque. The place of worship has been operating from a house in the area for decades.
Villagers in the community gave a 528 to 6 crushing vote against the mosque’s registration.
The vote was also amplified by Buddhist activists who arrived in Khon Kaen province and expressed anti-Muslim views and tied that day’s referendum in Pra Lub.
The cleric said he was trying to register the property in Ban Lerng Peau, because its required by laws regulating Islamic organizations. Also to expand the facility into a fully-functioning mosque
Somsak Jangtrakul, the provincial governor, said the majority of residents in the tambon voted against the registration request for the mosque.
Referendum required by Law
This referendum was 528 against and six in favor of it,” Somsak told said. “So let it be, the registration of the mosque cannot be completed because the consensus must be honored.”
In the majority-Buddhist country, referendums are required ahead of the registration of houses of worship. All faiths are also required this under the regulation enacted in 2005.
According to the Thai Ministry of Interior, there are some 3,000 Muslims living in Khon Kaen. There are about four million Muslims nationwide. There are nearly 4,000 registered mosques across Thailand. With an average of 32 requests each year to register new ones.
Khon Kaen is a peaceful province, Gov. Somsak told Benar News. He also wants to keep it that way.
Buddhist activists from the Deep South, also came to show solidarity with local opposition to the registration of the mosque in Ban Lerng Peau.
In 2017, Buddhists in the province filed a petition to stop Muslim people in the village from registering the mosque. Which was also the focus of Sunday’s referendum.