In the past few weeks, a photo gallery that I viewed on the internet site of Anadolu Agency has attracted my interest deeply: The Muslim Community On The Island Of Phuket.
Maybe this was due to my lack of knowledge but the truth is I was surprised. As it is commonly known, the island of Phuket is known to most of us as a holiday and 'pleasure' paradise. It is the type of island which strikes a pose almost like the backdrop of Microsoft Windows, where those tropical trees hang over golden sand and a glass like sea. Thus i was also of one of those people who identify Phuket as such. As Phuket was part of Thailand which is known to be one of the centers of Buddhism (and the fact that everybody who i have known that has been to Phuket have all mentioned the abundance of Buddhist statues everywhere) , it did not occur to me at all that there could be a connection with Muslims and the island of Phuket.
However I was quite wrong with my assumption.
The percentage of Muslims of the population of Phuket is exactly 30 percent. Yes, my knowledge regarding Thailand was also correct here as the majority are Buddhists on this island. However the Phuket Muslims which comprise about one third of the population, have maintained their own culture and have lived in harmony with the Buddhist community throughout history.
In reality, the purpose of this article is not to give a deep introduction about the Muslims in Phuket, as I would be lying if I said that I have enough information to do this. The main purpose, after reading this article on Anadolu Agency, I was wondering about the Muslims in Phuket so I found related articles while I surfed the internet and translated a summary of an article in a blog i found to put in the archive.
But before I get in to the translation, I want to detail some more facts regarding the notion I mentioned in the previous paragraph, 'harmony - maintain Islamic culture'.
Phuket Muslims who have found peace
The Muslims in Phuket are really worth studying in more detail as a result of the things I have read.
All articles regarding the Muslims of Phuket (of course all in English, as I was not able to find anything worth a mention in Turkish), who exist amongst a Buddhist majority in an island which is close to the mainland, in one corner of Asia have all stressed one point first and foremost: The Muslims in Phuket are living in peace and harmony.
It is a common perception of Muslims in the West, to identify and see Muslims in war, blood and horror. Whether it is true or false is irrelevant as it is not possible to say that this is not the perception these days. For this reason, there is a possibility that the articles I have read could have been exaggerated or biased regarding the image drawn by the Phuket people, however the point that is of importance is that the Muslims of Phuket - where it seems to us is so foreign and not possible to be in harmony - are not foreign to that culture or even an assimilated people; they even have major influence on the culture of the island.
In summary: I think that in my head there is one form or similar forms of Islamic culture and the people who belong to that culture have a struggle to integrate when thy go to 'different places'. For this reason I was wondering about the life of the 'Muslims in Phuket', becoming more surprised as I study more about them. I also think that I am not the only one who sees and thinks in this way. For this reason, to see that Muslims can maintain a lifestyle in harmony with different cultures, in different geographies, breaking the barriers of our mind set, it was important for me to study about the lives of Muslims in Phuket. For example, most of the Muslims there are involved in tourism there. Even though we see from a distance the tourism in Phuket as an 'extreme world', the local moslem community have been able to integrate the tourism with their own culture. As an example, when I have read that the 'halal food festival' is so popular that even non Muslims are trying to have stalls to offer items, I thought that this was a point worth mentioning as mutual integration in the community and social transformation.
On the other hand, while we see Buddhists as people not in the lime light, who for some of us are considered as idol worshipers, the Muslims living there have live side by side with Buddhists. Not only do they protect their own boundaries but also there is no threat imposed on the peace of the community. Maybe the concepts of harmony and peace within a community, have provided a historical experiment to be considered by the world of Islam; maybe even containing within it answers to the questions we can not find here regarding roots of the crisis that we are living here.
Hence as the topic of Muslims in Phuket has awaken these ideas in my mind, i am eagerly waiting for any studies that will be concerning about the sociology there. Thus, I think that a better view of the example that has been set over there will further enrich the imagination of our own Islamic world. In one of my recent articles where i wrote about the portrait of Suhaib Webb, I talked about his idea where he mentioned that ' American Islam is possible'. Webb's idea was briefly as follows: Islam does not offer only one culture or social structure. Every geography and the culture within can produce a format of its own. American Islam can find its own path and not necessarily repeat the experience of Turks or Arabs. Thus, I remembered once again this crucial topic that needs much thought to be put into as I viewed articles regarding our religious comrades in Phuket.
Now we can move on to the section of my article that makes it worthwhile to be placed in the archive:
Mosques of Phuket
'For more than 10 years I have written about the temples in Phuket in this blog. Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu and Christian temples... Phuket has a long history as a safe port for traders from Arabia, India, China and Europe, who have come here to trade with Malaysians and Siams. The population of Phuket has changed for hundreds of years, where different people and cultures have been in dominance, however in general Phuket and Thailand have always been open to different religions. Thailand is a secular country where the code of laws are not based on any religion and the freedom of worship is under protection. There is a widespread moslem population in the South of Thailand, which encompasses Phuket as well. Even though I am not definitely certain, everybody mutually agrees that Muslims comprise about 25 - 30% of the population of Phuket. In some areas of the island the Muslims are densely populated.
I have been here for a long time and the mixture of people are quite normal. I know that this situation is surprising to some visitors who expect all of Phuket to be Buddhist.. I even realized that even though I have been here for 10 years and although there is a large population, I noticed that I had mentioned very little about Muslims in my blog! I had mentioned previously once before about the Halal Food Festival as well as the rare restaurants operated by Muslims which have no pig on the menu...
However in this article I will not discuss halal food. I also will not discuss the Islamic history of Phuket. My purpose is to write about the mosques of Phuket. I go outside and take many photos and I have realized that there are many mosques here that I have not seen yet. Especially in the north of the island. On the last page of my map 27 mosques can be seen. I do believe that there is quite a few more than that. As a result you can see mosques on the island but I receive messages from my Muslim followers who have visited Phuket and could not find a mosque! After this article they will now be able to find! The truth is it is generally hard to find these mosques. While I was discovering them I had the pleasure of taking little trips, while I was discovering the hidden streets of Phuket on one side and the different corners on the other. In order to find more mosques than the ones I have photographed here, there needs to be more discovery travels!'.
After our blogger has set the route as such and started with the South of the island:
1. Nurut Diniya Mosque.
2. Aowal Hidayah Mosque. On the sea shore and amazing!
3. Patong Mosque. In one of the areas of Phuket which is very touristic and has a lot of night life. It is also a new mosque.
4. Kalim Mosque.
5. Kamala Mosque.
6. New Kamal Mosque. Built in the July of 2016, the newest mosque of Phuket.
7. Yameay Mosque. Together with and in the same region as the Chinese temples and the Catholic church.
8. Issatul Islam Mosque. (The writer of the blog has written it as Cape Panwa Mosque, possibly because it is in that area. However this mosque is one of the biggest and famous mosques in Phuket.)
9. Al Medine Mosque.
10. Laem Hin (Kamaliah) Mosque.
11. Mukaram Mosque. One of the most attractive mosques in Phuket.
12. Bang Rong Mosque. A mosque in a moslem fishing village.
13. Darul Itihad Mosque.
At the end of this useful list, our blogger Jamies also includes a map which shows the mosques of Phuket to the readers. We send him our best regards and thank him for this beautiful work.
Last Mod: 28 Kasım 2016, 00:09