The League of Islamic Council of Southern Thailand has issued a statement opposing the Cannabis and Hemp Bill, the Progressive Liquor Bill and the Civil Partnership Bill, as they are not in line with the Islamic principles.
Representatives of the council in the southern border provinces of Yala, Narathiwat, Songkhla, Satun and Pattani met on Thursday to clarify their position on the three bills, which have already passed their first readings in parliament.
During the first reading, the Prachachat Party — which counts most of its members as Muslims living in the deep South — opposed the three bills as well as the Marriage Equality Bill, proposed by the opposition Move Forward Party (MFP).
Sugarno Matha, a Prachachat MP for Yala, said his party had already informed other political parties that practicing Muslims should not have to follow any laws contrary to their religious or other beliefs.
The Cannabis and Hemp Bill delisted the two plants as narcotic drugs, except for cannabis extracts with more than 0.2% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabis’ psychoactive ingredient.
Meanwhile, the Progressive Liquor Bill aims to liberalise the liquor industry, allowing small-scale producers to enter the market. The Civil Partnership Bill will make same sex marriage legal, if enacted.
According to the Quran, same-sex marriage, narcotics and alcoholic drinks go against Islam and its values. Exceptions must be made for practicing Muslims if the bills are passed, Mr Sugarno said.
The issue has sparked much debate on social media leading to confusion among Muslims, which is why the councils hoped to clear the matter up, said Waedueramae Mamingji, chairman of the Islamic Council of Pattani.
The League of Islamic Council of Southern Thailand does not support any of the draft laws, he said.
Dr Ananchai Thaipratan, an Islamic medical professional who attended the meeting, said the United Nations still lists cannabis as a narcotic allowed only for medicinal use or research purposes, not for commercial sale or consumption.
University doctors are also starting to point out the negative side effects of consuming cannabis, as it can cause hallucinations, tachycardia and other heart-related problems as well as impede student's intellectual growth, the council said.