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Monday, September 19, 2005
  The Religion of peaceful co-existence
Muslim Violence Destroying Economy in Southern Thailand - from TBO.com: "PATTANI, Thailand (AP) - The open-air market in this southern Thai city falls eerily quiet on Fridays. Most vendors stay home, terrorized by leaflets threatening to kill or cut off the ears of anyone who works on the Muslim holy day.

After 20 months of insurgent violence, the no-work threat has driven another nail into what is becoming an economic coffin in Thailand's terrorized southern provinces.

'My business has been bad as customers are afraid to come out,' said Thanchanok Putroy, 39, chopping up a catfish in the market where most stores were shut and buses aren't running.

Among the hundreds killed in the predominantly Muslim provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat are police and soldiers, but police records show that 80 percent are civilians - rubber tappers, shopkeepers, civil servants, construction workers and ice cream vendors.

Bombs have exploded at a department store, a cinema complex, the international airport at Hat Yai and a department store owned by the French Carrefour chain. Now investors and tourists have been driven off and some workers are leaving.

'Trade has dropped 70 to 80 percent. Shopkeepers complain loudly. It is very quiet at night and people from outside dare not to come to the area,' said Panya Ongsakul, chairman of the three provinces' chamber of commerce."
 
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