Muslims oppose Guan Yin statue construction plan in Songkhla

Muslims oppose Guan Yin statue construction plan in Songkhla

Muslim leaders gather at the Pak Bang mosque in Songkhla's Thepha district on Tuesday to protest against TPIPP's Guan Yin statue construction plan. (Photo: Abdullah Benjakat)
Muslim leaders gather at the Pak Bang mosque in Songkhla's Thepha district on Tuesday to protest against TPIPP's Guan Yin statue construction plan. (Photo: Abdullah Benjakat)

SONGKHLA: Muslim people and religious leaders in Thepha and Chana districts of this southern province have voiced their opposition to a plan by TPI Polene Power Plc (TPIPP), a major waste-to-energy power plant operator, to build a large statue of Guan Yin, the goddess of compassion in Chinese mythology, in a Muslim community.

They said the company wanted to build a 200-metre-tall statue on Khao Lon mountain in tambon Sakom of Thepha district, which is surrounded by a Muslim community.

On Tuesday, representatives of the Imam Group of Thepha, the Jamiyyah Ulama Songkla Darussalam, the Imam Association of Chana and the Islamic Committee of Songkhla gathered at the mosque of Pak Bang village to protest against TPIPP's plan and recite the Quran.

Golyubi Jarese, an Imam at the Pak Bang mosque, said Muslim people are very sensitive about this matter.

"You may have the right to build anything on your land, but we want you to think over about the plan..about how to co-exist with a Muslim community," Mr Golyubi said. "We have reached a consensus that you should step back."

A Muslim leader said he would send a letter, signed by villagers and religious leaders, to Deputy Minister of Interior and Democrat Party member Nipon Boonyamanee, asking him to lobby TPI to scrap the plan.

If Mr Nipon failed to respond to the request, Muslim people would not vote for Democrat candidates in the next election, he warned.

An Imam, who asked not to be named, said while the fate of the Chana Industrial Estate project remained uncertain, the company still wanted to build a structure that may not be acceptable to the local community. TPIPP is pushing for the Chana Industrial Estate project to materialise.

"What would happen next, if the industrial estate project comes into existence?" he asked.

Another religious leader of the Pak Bang mosque said the show of opposition was made after the company's representatives had lobbied Muslim leaders to give approval for its Guan Yin statue construction plan.


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