Pattani = Patani (in Malay) or Pattani (derived from Jawi: ڤتنا) is pantai ini or pata ni (Klate) and means 'this beach'. Pattani province was previously the centre of the Malay Sultanate of Patani Darul Makrif that paid tribute to the Siamese kingdoms of Sukhothai and Ayutthaya. The Malay Muslims make up 88% of the population of Pattani and they speak the Patani Malay language which is similar to the Kelantan accent (loghat Kelantan or Klate).
Patani Raya, or "Greater Patani" is a term that has been used to describe a region comprising the southern Thai provinces of Pattani, Yala (Jala), Narathiwat (Menara), and parts of Songkhla (Singgora), together with much of the northern part of modern peninsular Malaysia.
Patani is historically similar to sultanates such as Singgora (Songkhla), Ligor (Nakhon Si Thammarat), and Lingga (near Surat Thani).
Patani came under Thai rule briefly during the Sukhothai period, and more extensively during the later Ayutthaya period.
South Thailand Insurgency
Tengku Mahmud Mahyuddin, a prominent Pattani leader and the son of the last Raja of Pattani, allied with the British and launched guerilla attacks against the Japanese during WWII.
In 1945, a petition by Malay leaders led by Tengku Abdul Jalal demanded that Britain guarantee independence for the southernmost provinces of Thailand. At the war's end, the Greater Malay Pattani State (Negara Melayu Patani Raya) flag did fly briefly in Pattani. However, since the British had no power over Thailand, the Thai continued to rule over Pattani, while the British kept Thailand stable as a counterweight to the communist insurgency in Malaya. This led to the formation of several insurgent groups seeking the independence of Pattani.
During World War II, along with the Greater Patani Malay Movement, led by Tengku Mahmud Mahyuddin, another resistance force under the leadership of Islamic scholar Haji Sulong Tokmina also fought against the Japanese. Their stated goal was to create an Islamic republic in Patani, which frequently put it at odds with Prince Tengku Mahmud who wanted to reestablish the Pattanese Sultanate.
Today, the goals and ideas of Haji Sulong Tokmina are still carried on by minor resistance groups interested in creating an Islamic republic. After the war, though, British and Thai policies essentially removed the possibility of an independent republic in Pattani.
Patani separatist groups, most notably the Patani United Liberation Organization (PULO), began to use violent tactics in 2001. There have been suggestions of links between PULO and foreign Islamist groups, such as al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah. A number of Pattani Muslims are reported to have received training at al-Qaeda centres in Pakistan, and the Pattani insurgents have forged links with groups such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the Philippines and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) in Indonesia.
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