ACTNews, HAT YAI – What comes to your mind when thinking about Thailand? Probably a beautiful country with many Buddhist temples and shrines, numerous shopping centers, and hospitable people. However, there are more to it than what we have known.
If you travel to Southern Thailand, you’ll come to a region named Songkhla. There are two cities in the region with more Muslim population than any other Thai cities: Bang Klam and Hat Yai. There is no racial or religious conflict in this region; all ethnicities coexist peacefully. Instead, both the Muslims and Buddhists in these two cities fight against their mutual enemies: rampant spread of drug abuse and the terror of the southern Thailand insurgency.
“There used to be a lot of bombings, shootings, and murders. All of them were politically motivated,” said Adul Meatam, an Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) partner in Thailand. “But now everybody worries about the same problem: rampant drug abuse spreading among the youth,” said Meatam.
This problem is related to the demographic condition in these two cities. The majority if Bang Klam residents work as farmers while many of its women get married early, unready to take care of their children in such a young age. Meanwhile, Hat Yai is the business center of Songkhla with rapid mobility that makes it difficult to control the spread of drugs.
“Apart from the drug problem, we also have to deal with the annual floods, especially during monsoon season,” added Meatam.
Islamic holidays in Songkhla are celebrated in a simple manner. At least, the local Muslims are still able to pray in congregation in the local mosques or in an open field, then they proceed with eating together. Such tradition was also done in Eid-ul-Adha 2017. However, there was something different about their qurbani that year.
Bags of qurbani meat packages were prepared to bring more happiness for them. The meat was provided by Global Qurban – ACT as a gesture of brotherhood from the people of Indonesia who celebrated their Eid-ul-Adha in a more festive manner. 300 recipients from Kokmau Village in Bang Klam and Ben Bangfab Village in Hat Yai benefitted from the qurbani packages distributed that day.
Bright smile appeared on the faces of the beneficiaries. For them, those qurbani packages are the expression of Indonesians’ immense generosity.
“The qurbani activity made everyone smile and happy. The amount of the animals wasn’t that many. Nevertheless, it strengthened the brotherhood of the people of the two countries,” said Arif Madadam (23), a student from Kokmau Village.
Similar sentiment was expressed by Roniah Binalee (44) of Ban Bangfeb Village. The mother of four children expressed her thankfulness. “Thank you for giving us such happy memory. The brotherhood of the Indonesians reached us here. Hopefully there will be a similar activity next year.”
With Allah’s grace, Binalee’s hope will come to fruition, Insha Allah. Global Qurban is preparing to send qurbani packages to Thailand again. Global Qurban is ready to fortify the bond of brotherhood to Muslims in our neighboring countries that has been initiated in 2017.