Islamic office chides protesters

The Office of the Chularatchamontri has chided a group of anti-government protesters for inappropriate behaviour inside a mosque in Palian district of Trang province.

"A mosque is a place of worship for Muslims and is very sacred to them. It is a pillar of peace for the community and should be above all political conflict," the office of the country’s Muslim spiritual leader said in a statement on Friday.

About 300 demonstrators from the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) in the southern province threatened the Islamic Ismailiyah Foundation School to close on Monday in an attempt to get people to join their protest, it said.

The protesters showed up while Muslims were attending classes and some were praying at the adjacent Sujud Islam mosque.

Some of the demonstrators were drunk and some even fired shots into the air, it said, adding: "It is not appropriate for any group to threaten or close off a mosque. Doing so is an act of violating basic religious rights."

The office also implored Muslims to be patient about the incident and urged them to use discretion when considering news and opinions on the subject in order to avoid violent conflicts.

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