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There Are <i>ponoks</i>, and There Are <i>ponoks</i>: Traditional Religious Boarding Schools in Thailand's Far-South

Author(s): Kee Howe Yong

Journal: Advances in Anthropology
ISSN 2163-9353

Volume: 02;
Issue: 03;
Start page: 161;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Thailand's Far-South | Ponok | War on Terror | Violence | Muslims

There has been a vast corpus of literature on Islam and Muslims since 9/11 that sought to locate the basis of Muslimness in some primordial essentialist cultural value. Since then, many Muslim religious boarding schools in predominantly Muslim countries in South and Southeast Asia have been policed and raided. This essay, based on fieldwork conducted in Thailand’s far-south, hope to provide a different picture from what has commonly been portrayed about the ponok (traditional Muslim schools), as rigidly strict and pious or as the playground for radical Islam. What concern me are the lives and livelihoods of the ponok students should the fear about Islam continues unabated, or when these children have no idea why they are being sought after or whose interests they are serving.
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