It takes a nation to protect the nation
How the Malaysians fought against the Jihadis in the 15th century to finally succumb to the Jihad, and how today the Malaysian Jihadis are plotting to transform Malaysia into an Islamic Caliphate and fomenting trouble in Southern Thailand.
Clash of Contrasts - Buddhism and Islam in Malaysia
A pre-Islamic horseman.
Before being overrun by Islam, the people of Malaysia and Indonesia were overwhelmingly Hindu and Buddhists. In fact what are today the ASEAN countries had one religion (a mix of Hinduism-Buddhism-Animism) and one culture till the 15th century. They did not look upon themselves as different countries. A large part of today’s Malaysia was a part of the kingdom of Siam (Thailand). And at times Malaysia and Indonesia were under the rule of one single dynasty (Sri Vijaya, Shailendra, Mataram and Majapahit).
The Bas Reliefs of Borobudur in Indonesia and words like Putrajaya (name of the new Malaysian Capital), Tan Sri (honorific title in Malaysia), Garuda (Indonesia’s national air carrier), and names like Megawati Sukarnoputri (Indonesia’s former President), Imam Samudra (the Bali Bomber), which have been derived from the ancient Indian (Sanskrit) language are the only reminders of the Buddhist and Hindu past of the current Muslim population of Malaysia and Indonesia. The clash of the gentle ancestors of the Malays and Indonesians with the violent Muslims is a clash of contrasts.
This is so as there is no greater contrast than that between Buddhism and Islam. While Buddhism is intrinsically and universally non-violent, Islam is a violent, cruel and murderous paranoia as we witnessed in 9/11, 7/7, 3/11 and numerous other events in recent history. The 14 century long history of Islam has been equally violent and bloodied and cruel.
When attacked and massacred by the Muslims, the Buddhists initially did not make any attempt to escape from their murderers. They accepted death with an air of fatalism and destiny. And hence they are not around today to tell their story. But their mindless slaughter evoked another and extremely opposite reaction from another set of Buddhists. This was also the most dramatic one so far – the Mongol invasion of Iran and Iraq by Chengiz Khan and his son Hulagu Khan. These Mongols were some sort of Buddhists by faith, whose homeland had been suffering the depredations of the Muslims for six centuries (from 651 to 1200) when the Buddhist Mongols decided that enough was enough and decided to pay back the Muslims with their own coin – with due premium added! The Mongols slaughtered the Muslims of Iran and Iraq with unremitting cruelty. The Mongols laid waste the countryside, burnt down cities slaughtered the Muslim population en masse, including the Caliph himself!.
The Mongols were matched in their reaction to Muslim Barbarism, only by the Crusaders. And interestingly it was only the Mongols and the Crusaders who defeated the Muslims in their own homeland during the last 1400 years of the existence of the Muslims since 622 CE. Other minor aberrations that turned the tide of the Muslims were the Franks at Tours, the Spanish Re-conquistadores, the Hindus under their king Sivaji, the Nubian marksmen and the Thai’s reconquest of Sultanate of Pattani late in the seventeenth century.
The Malaysians (under their Sri Vijaya and Majapahit dynasties) resisted the Muslims, albeit briefly in the 15th century, only to lapse back to a defensive position and submit to the Muslims Jihadis by the 16th century..
Before their forced conversion, the Malays themselves were Buddhists and Hindu by faith till the 15th century under their kingdoms of Sri Vijaya (Malaysia), Majapahit and Shailendra (Indonesian archipelago). These kingdoms were ardent rivals and were at war with each other and with their northern neighbor – the kingdom of Siam (Thailand) when the Muslim first appeared on the scene.
How Islam came to Malaysia and Thailand
After this longish preamble, we shall see how the Malays resisted the Muslims, albeit briefly in the 15th century, only to lapse back to a defensive position and embrace the religion of their tormentors after a century of resistance.
Buddhist Warriors as depicted at the Bas-Reliefs
The Malays themselves were Buddhists and Hindu by faith till the 15th century under their kingdoms of Sri Vijaya (Malaysia), Shailendra and Majapahit (Indonesian archipelago). These three kingdoms were ardent rivals and were intermittently at war with each other and with their northern neighbor – the kingdom of Siam (Thailand).
Interestingly, the entry of Islam in to South East Asia was facilitated by this rivalry and internecine warfare of the three kingdoms of Thailand with SriVijaya of Malaysia and, Shailendra and Majapahit of Indonesia. But the ultimate reason for the conversion of the last Sri Vijaya king, Parmeswara to Islam was deception as we shall see below.
Before the advent of Islam, Sri Vijaya, Shailendra, Mataram and Majapahit were powerful empires from the 13th up to the 15th centuries. The Sri Vijaya, Shailendra and Majapahit kings followed an eclectic faith made up of Hinduism and Buddhism. These kingdoms also had their illustrious counterparts in Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia and Burma (Myanmar). They built magnificent cities. The ruins of Angkor Vat and Borobudur are the most dramatic surviving evidences of their glory. Similar cities dotted Malaysia, and Indonesia in the 12 to the 15th centuries. Their decline began with the coming of Arab dhows (vessels) who carried not just merchandise but also the sword and the murderous mentality of Islam.
The Indonesian-Malay Hindu king who first embraced Islam was named Parmeswara and he became a victim of circumstances when he was tricked into becoming a Muslim. Parameswara was a scion of the Sri Vijaya dynasty and ruled from Palembang. But during Parameswara's time, Sri Vijaya was in decline and Majapahit had become the overlord of Sri Vijaya. Parameswara had a dispute with the Majapahit ruler and was forced to shift his capital from Palembang to the relatively safer Temasek island - now Singapore. There, during a skirmish with the forces of Majapahit, Parameswara killed prince Temagi of Siam, who was allied with Majapahit This angered the Siamese king, who threatened to capture and kill Paremeswara. This led to another string of battles between Sri Vijaya against Siam and Majapahit, in which Parameswara was worsted and he had to flee his new capital the Temasek island (Singapore) island, and seek refuge first in Muar, before fleeing further on to Malacca and deciding to make it his new capital in 1402.
Arabs deceive and browbeat the last Sri Vijaya king Parameswara to marry a Muslim Girl and convert to Islam
Malacca was a trading port frequented by the Arabs, where they had established a colony. At Malacca, the Arabs promised King Parameswara, help in his fight against his rivals from Thailand. From 1402 onwards Parmeswara increasingly became dependent on the Arabs to stave off attempts from the Thais to avenge the slaughter of their prince and the territorial ambitions of Majapahit. The Arab merchant-soldiers whose position became increasingly stronger at Parmeswara’s court offered to send in more forces to fight alongside him, if he converted to Islam. Initially Parameswara scornfully refused this offer. But as the struggle with Malaysia wore on, his position became more precarious. At this juncture the Arab merchants gifted him a princess of Pasai who was a mix breed descendant of the Arab and Indonesian Nikah Mu’tah Marriages (A Nikah Mu’tah is a temporary marriage allowed for Muslims by the Quran).
Pasai, was originally known as Samudera-Pasai later renamed called Samudera Darussalam. Pasai was a thriving harbor kingdom on the north coast of Sumatra in the 13th to the 15th centuries CE. Due to its wealth Pasai had attracted Arab merchants who in the course of time intermarried with local women to create a Muslim community that was half Arab and half Indonesian, as the offspring of these marriages were brought up as Muslims. The area of Pasai is in today’s Aceh province of Indonesia.
Incidentally the term “Pasai” is believed derived from Parsi, or Parsee immigrants from the west coast of India namely Gujarat, some of who migrated for mercantile activities to northern Sumatra in today's Aceh province. Arab and Indian Muslims had also traded in Malaysia and China for many centuries. A Muslim tombstone in eastern Java bears a date corresponding to 1082. But substantial evidence of Islam in Malaysia begins only in northern Sumatra at the end of the 13th century. Two small Muslim trading kingdoms existed by that time at Pasai and Peureulak or Perlak
Borobudur – Big Buddha. This temple complex is in Indonesia and dates back to the 8th century
Coming back to this princess from Pasai, she was from among these half-breed Arab-Indonesian Muslims, and was a maiden of extreme beauty. The militarily weakened king Parameswara fell for her, making his position even more precarious vis-à-vis the Arabs. Parameswara incidentally did not have any heir from his Queen but his new love told him, that she was carrying his child. The lovelorn Parameswara who was becoming increasingly militarily weak wanted an heir desperately. In this desperation and his blind love for his new love, he proposed to her, only to be told that marriage was possible only under Muslim rites for which he needed to convert to Islam. To get an heir Parameswara agreed and recited the Shahada before he could bring his new love from the harem to his palace as his legitimate queen.
But according to Sri Vijaya court records, in reality, the child which his Muslim harlot told him she was carrying was not his but was fathered by an Arab as Parmeswara was diagnosed as impotent by his medical practioners. But the urge to become a normal person and have an heir was overwhelming for Parameswara and that urge compelled him to abandon his ancestral religion and convert to Islam.
The Hindu kingdom of Sri Vijaya transformed itself in to the Sultanate of Malacca after the last Hindu king Parameswara, embraced Islam
Thus, in 1414, for reasons which were amorous and desperate, Parameswara converted to Islam after marrying the princess from Pasai. After his conversion, he assumed the title Sultan Iskandar Shah. After his conversion, his half Arab Queen also encouraged his subjects to embrace Islam and this is how Malacca became a sultanate. Thus Malacca was the first to fall to the Muslims.
This conversion led to waves of conversions in Malaysia and Indonesia, most of whose people converted to the new faith, except in far off Bali which remained Hindu, as it is till this day. The descendants of Parameswara started the first Muslim dynasty and expanded the Sultanate of Malacca. At its height the Sultanate encompassed most of modern day Peninsula Malaysia, the site of modern day Singapore and a great portion of eastern Sumatra and Borneo. The governor of Borneo later seceded from Malacca to form the independent Sultanate of Borneo. For a long time Malacca remained the center of Islam in the Malaysian and Indonesian archipelago (Aceh, Riau, Palembang and Sulawesi). It was from Malacca where imams and ustazes went to all over Malaysia and Indonesia to discuss religion and the like. Muslim missionaries were also sent by the successive Sultans of Malacca to spread Islam to he Hindu and Buddhist communities in the Malay Archipelago, such as in Java, Borneo, and the Philippines (Mindanao). Most of South East Asia at that time was Hindu-Buddhist, except for the Philippines where the population was animist.
In the 15th century the Sultanate of Malacca destroyed the other Hindu kingdom of Majapahit in Indonesia, and also weakened Thailand
The Sultanate's most important regional rivals continued to be Thailand in the north and the declining Majapahit Empire in the Indonesian archipelago (Aceh, Riau, Palembang and Sulawesi) in the south. But within the archipelago, Majapahit was not able to control or effectively compete with the Sultans of Malacca with their new found zeal of Islam, and ultimately came to an end during the later 15th century. After the demise of Majapahit kingdom and the conversion of most of its inhabitants to Islam, the Sultans of Malacca alongwith their Arab allies concentrated on the conquest of Thailand with the purported aim of converted the Thais to Islam.
This imposing temple complex is at Prambanan and is dated around the 8th century. It is located on the Island of Sumatra in Indonesia. It looks markedly like Angkor Wat another but more famous temple complex built later in the 11th century in Cambodia.
The Arabs based in Malacca along with their new converts the Malay Muslims of Malacca repeatedly attacked Thailand and for a time it seemed that they would go storming up the narrow Isthmus of Kra and penetrate up to the Thai capital of Ayuthaya.
During much of the fifteenth century Ayuthaya's energies were directed toward the Malay Peninsula, where the great trading port of Malacca contested its claims to sovereignty. As the erstwhile Hindu-Buddhist states of Malacca along with other Malay states south of Tambralinga had become Muslim early in the century, a resurgent and aggressive Islam served as a symbol of Malay solidarity against the Thais and for a time it seemed that the Thais would also have to submit to Islam. But from the 17th century successive Thai kings allied themselves with the seafaring Western powers – the Portuguese and the Dutch and succeeded in staving off the threat of Islam from the Muslim Malays and their Arab overlords.
Islam in the Philippines
In the Philippines, the Muslims did get remarkable success in converting the population of southern Philippines to Islam.
As far back as 1380, Makhdum Karim, the first Islamic Holy Warrior had brought Islam to the southern tip of
Philippine Archipelago (Mindanao). But the efforts to convert the
Filipino population en masse to Islam gathered strength after the
defeat of the Hindu kingdoms of Sri Vijaya (Malaya) and Majapahit
(Indonesia). Around 1414, the war between the Sri Vijaya and the
Majapahit Empire ended in favor of the former with the conversion of
the last Sri Vijaya king Parameswara to Islam. Following this victory,
Muslim Holy Warriors (Jihadis) introduced Islam into the Hindu-Malay
empires and converted almost the entire population to Islam.
By the next century, these holy warriors had reached the Sulu islands in the southern tip of the
Philippines where the population was animistic and they took up the
task of converting the animistic population to Islam with renewed
zeal. By the 15th century, most of Visayas (Central Philippines) and
half of Luzon (Northern Philippines) and the islands of Mindanao in
the south had become subject to the various Muslim sultanates of
Borneo and much of the population in the South had been converted to
Subsequent incursions of Muslim Malay Muslim Holy Warriors strengthened the stranglehold of Islam among the
frightened animistic pre-Islamic Filipinos (today’s Moros) in the
extreme south. By the early 15th century, Islam had been established
in the Sulu Archipelago and spread from there to Mindanao; it had
reached the Manila area by 1565. There was sporadic resistance from
the local population that was organized in to Barangays. Barangays was
a kinship group headed by a datu (chief). Organized resistance to
Islam began only after the coming of the Spanish in 1521. Till then,
during the period 1380 up to 1521, a major part of the animist
population of Southern Philippines had been converted to Islam.
But Islam was not to be the religion of the Philippines, as it had become in Malaysia and Indonesia. A seminal
event that was to halt the advance of slam was the arrival of
Ferdinand Magellan in the Philippines in 1521. After this the Filipino
resistance to Islam received a new fillip. Magellan landed on the
island of Cebu, claiming the lands for Spain and naming them Islas de
San Lazaro. He established friendly relations with some of the local
chieftains who had been battling the Muslims and converted some of
them to Roman Catholicism. Over the next several decades, other
Spanish expeditions were dispatched to the islands. In 1543, Ruy López
de Villalobos led an expedition to the islands and gave the name Las
Islas Felipinas (after Philip II of Spain) to the islands of Samar and
Leyte. The name Philippines derived from Felipinas, was later extended
to the entire archipelago.
Permanent Spanish settlement was not established until 1565 when an expedition led by the Conquistadores,
Miguel López de Legazpi, arrived in Cebu from Mexico (New Spain).
Spanish leadership was soon established over many small independent
communities that previously had known no central rule. Six years
later, following the defeat of the local Malay Muslim ruler, Rajah
Solayman, Legazpi established a capital at Manila, a location that
offered the excellent harbor of Manila Bay to the seafaring Spanish.
Occupation of the Philippine islands was accomplished with relatively
little bloodshed, partly because most of the population (except the
Muslims) offered little armed resistance to the Spanish, as their main
enemy had been the Malay and Arab Muslims seeking to convert them to
But a significant problem the Spanish faced was the subjugation of the Muslims of Mindanao and the Sulu.
This temple complex in Cambodia is the signature of the Hindu-Buddhist
Archipelago. The Muslims, in response to attacks on them from the Spanish and their native allies, raided areas of Luzon and the Visayas
that were under Spanish colonial control. But these actions were
inconsequential as the fate of Islam in the Philippines was sealed,
and Philippines was not to go the way as had Malaysia and Indonesia,
save for a southern tip of Mindanao.
Consequently, most of the Filipinos (except for those in the south) later became Christian under the
Spanish colonization. By the late 15th century, the Sultanate of Sulu,
the largest Islamic Kingdom of South East Asia and the Malay
Archipelago, encompassed parts of Malaysia and the Philippines.
Ironically the Mongoloid looking members of the royal house of the
Sultanate of Sulu claimed descent from the Prophet Muhammad to
reinforce their credentials in their new found faith of Islam!
Waves of conversion to Islam had just about begun in the late 15th century and were preparing to sweep north
across the Philippine archipelago in the 16th century when the Spanish
colonialists reached the shores of the Philippines. What followed was
a checkmating of one faith by another and the Spanish repulsed further
attempts by the Sultans of Borneo to make inroads, both military and
religious in to the Philippine archipelago.
So the coming of the Spanish saved the Philippines from Islam, except for the Southern tip where the
population had been converted to Islam. This population was derisively
referred to by the Spanish as Moros and Moriscos (Spanish for Moor or
Muslim). Till today the Muslim population of Southern Philippines
continue to refer to themselves as Moros – the name given to them by
the Spanish colonialists!
The coming of the Spanish and the Portuguese was also a breather to the beleaguered Thai kingdom.
For Thailand too, the coming of the Spanish and the Portuguese was a breather. The Thais smartly allied
themselves with the Portuguese to ultimately destroy the Sultanate of
Malacca during the reign of the last Sultan of Malacca, Sultan Mahmud
It was in 1509, during the reign of the last Sultan of Malacca, Sultan Mahmud Shah that the Portuguese became
the first European power to reach Malacca and Southeast Asia in
general. The Portuguese fleet was led by Admiral Lopez de Sequira.
Trouble however ensued after the general feeling of rivalry between
Islam and Christianity was invoked by a group of Goan Muslims in the
sultan's court after the Portuguese had captured Goa. Soon, the
Portuguese fleet was attacked by Malacca and was forced to flee.
Incidentally Goa was then a Portuguese colony in India that was ruled
by the Muslims before the Portuguese conquered it.
In 1511, a larger Portuguese fleet from Cochin, India led by Viceroy Alfonso d'Albuquerque came back to
Malacca. The Viceroy made a number of demands - one of which was for
permission to build a fortress as a Portuguese trading post near the
city. All the demands were refused by the Sultan. Conflict was
unavoidable, and after 40 days of fighting, Malacca fell to the
Portuguese on August 24.
Sultan Mahmud Shah was forced to flee Malacca. The sultan made several attempts to retake the capital but
his efforts were fruitless. The Portuguese retaliated and forced the
sultan to flee to Pahang. Later, the sultan sailed to Bintan and
established a new capital there. With a base established, the sultan
rallied the disarrayed Malay forces and organized several attacks and
blockades against the Portuguese's position.
Frequent raids on Malacca caused the Portuguese severe hardship. The raids helped convince the Portuguese
that the exiled sultan's forces must be silenced. A number of attempts
were made to suppress the Malay forces, but it wasn't until 1526 that
the Portuguese finally razed Bintan to the ground. The sultan then
retreated to Kampar in Sumatra where he died two years later. He left
behind two sons named Muzaffar Shah and Alauddin Riayat Shah II.
Muzaffar Shah was invited by the people in the north of the peninsula to become their ruler, establishing the
Sultanate of Perak. Meanwhile, Mahmud's other son, Alauddin succeeded
his father and made a new capital in the south. His realm was the
Sultanate of Johore, the successor of Malacca. But the Portuguese
could not retain the possession of Malacca for long, as it was
conquered by the Dutch in 1641. Although Malacca changed hands, the
saving grace was that the barbaric Muslims were never able to sink
their claws in Malacca and this enabled the straits to remain free for
mercantile activities for the next five centuries. The fallout of the
coming of the Europeans was that Thailand was saved from the threat of
Muslim conquest that was looming over it in the 15th and 16th
The Thais launch a counter attack against the Muslims
Taking advantage of the weakened position of the Muslims, the Thais attacked the Sultanate of Pattani
and attempted to re-conquer the territories they had lost to the
Sultans of Malacca from 1414, when Parameswara the Sri Vijaya king had
embraced Islam and his successors had fought relentless campaigns
against Thailand and Majapahit (Indonesia). While they were able to
destroy Majapahit and absorb Indonesia (Aceh, Riau, Palembang and
Sulawesi) in to the Muslim Ummah by converting the Indonesian
Hindu-Buddhist population to Islam, they could not get comparative
success against their other rival Thailand. The point to note here is
that the entry of Islam in South East Asia was facilitated by the
rivalry and internecine warfare of the three kingdoms of Thailand with
SriVijaya of Malaysia and Majapahit of Indonesia. The proximate reason
for the conversion of the last Sir Vijaya king was deception as we saw
In the 16th century, after fighting a single-handed battle against the Sultanate of Malacca for a century,
(the successor to the Hindu Sri Vijaya empire), the Thais were nearing
the end of their tether. But for the arrival of the Portuguese and
Dutch in the 17th century, the Thais might have succumbed to the
Sultans of Malacca as had their other rivals the Majapahit empire of
In Indonesia, the Majapahit kingdom found itself increasingly unable to control the rising power of the
Sultanate of Malacca. Dates for the end of the Majapahit Empire range
from 1478 to 1527. After a series of battles with the Sultanate of
Demak, the last remaining courtsmen of Majapahit were forced to
withdraw eastward to Kediri. Even this small state was finally
extinguished at the hands of the Demak in 1527. A large number of
courtiers, artisans, priests, and members of the royalty moved east to
the island of Bali which is still dominated by their descendants who
still practise their original Hindu faith. But effectively Majapahit
had ceased to be an imperial power and by the early 16th century, the
emerging Muslim power had eclipsed the once powerful Majapahit kingdom
and many of their subjects across the Indonesian archipelago had been
converted to Islam.
The Thais too could have been forcibly converted to Islam as were the Malaysians in the 15th century when the
Sri Vijaya king was converted to Islam following which the Majapahit
kingdom of Indonesia was defeated and destroyed by the Sultans of
Malacca (successors to the kings of Sri Vijaya who embraced Islam).
Thus when Portuguese and Dutch came in to the scene, the Thais
received a much needed breather and they gathered their fading
strength to garner enough courage to counterattack the Sultanate of
Malacca three times, along with their Portuguese allies and finally
brought an end to the rogue infidel Muslim power of the Sultanate of
Malacca as a threat to themselves (Thais) as well as to the emerging
mercantile powers – the Portuguese and the Dutch. The British gave a
final end to the pretensions of the other auxiliary Muslim sultanates,
that had succeeded the fallen Sultanate of Malacca. These included the
Sultanate of Pattani, the Sultanate of Johore, and the Sultanate of
In the 18th century, the Thais had an ambition to overrun both the Sultanate of Pattani and the Sultanate of
Johore and reclaim the entire Malay peninsula through the lost Thai
towns of Ligor (Nakhon Si Thammarat) and Kataha up to Singapore
(earlier known as the island of Temasek) that they had lost to the
Muslims when Parmeswara the last Sri Vijaya king converted to Islam in
1441. . But that was not to be however, the Thais checkmated the
Muslim ambitions to overrun Thailand and took the war in to Muslim
territory as we shall see in the following paragraphs.
The Thais re-conquer the Sultanate of Pattani from the Muslims
In the 13th to the 15th centuries, Pattani intermittently was a part of the Buddhist kingdom of Siam and
the Hindu-Buddhist Srivijaya Empire. Saim and Sri Vijaya had a keen
rivalry for dominating the Isthumus of Kra in order to be able to
dominate the strategic straits of Malacca. The Sri Vijayas were
located in Palembang and were a maritime confederation dating back to
the 3rd century C.E. During the pre-Islamic era, Sri Vijaya dominated
trade on the South China Sea and exacted tolls from all traffic
through the Straits of Malacca. State like Tambralinga (know also as
Nakhon Sri Thammarat). The growing power of Siam threatened this
lucrative monopoly from the 13th century. This led to a string of
battles between the two empires despite close affinities in language,
culture and religion. This conflict was the chink that allowed Islam
to sneak in to South-east Asia in the 15th century.
After the conversion of the last Sri Vijaya king Parameswara to Islam and the transformation of the Sri
Vijaya kingdom into the Sultanate of Malacca, the rivalry with
Thailand became more acute, as the antagonists now belonged to
different religions and with Islam, the erstwhile Sri Vijaya (now the
Sultanate of Malacca) found greater zeal to pulverize its long time
northern rival Siam with the additional aim of converting the Thais to
Successive Muslim chieftains of Pattani who were surrogates of the Sultan of Malacca tried to attack Thailand from the Isthumus of Kra.
Four successive rulers of Pattani known as Ratu Hijau (The Green Queen), Ratu Biru (The Blue Queen), Ratu Ungu
(The Purple Queen) and Ratu Kuning (The Yellow Queen) tried to conquer
Thailand from 1584 onwards. But the Pattani kingdom's economic and
military strength proved inadequate to conquer Siam single-handedly
and the Thais fought off four major invasions, with the last one
threatening the overrun Pattani itself. It was then that the Sultans
of Patani allied themselves with the eastern Malay kingdom of Pahang
and the southern Malay Sultanates of Malacca and Johore. They jointly
endeavored to subdue Thailand.
They got an unique opportunity to stab Thailand in its back when in 1563 a massive Burmese attack from the
north against the Siamese kingdom threatened to overrun the Thai
capital of Ayutthaya. Seizing this opportunity the Sultan of Pattani,
Muzaffar Shah took launched an attack on Ayutthaya from the South. The
Thai however proved to be no mean opponents, and despite being
weakened by their long drawn out war with Burma, they repulsed the
Muslim invasion led by the Sultan of Pattani, Muzaffar Shah who was
himself slain during the battle.
But the Thais could not push their advantage to overrun Pattani, Johore and Malacca altogether, as they
had to still grapple with the Burmese threat from the north of
Thailand. The Burmese intermittently occupied the Thai capital of
Ayutthaya. Throughout the 16th and 17th centuries Thais were engaged
in constant skirmishes with the Burmese and in these see-saw
campaigns, the Burmese more than once occupied the Thai capital of
Ayutthaya. The Thais shifted their capital to Bangkok and continued
fighting the Burmese invasion. And in 1767, the Thais finally retook
Ayutthaya from the Burmese after a devastating campaign. The city was
almost entirely destroyed in this war and was rebuilt over the next
few years from 1782 onwards when the residence of the king and the
royal family during the Rattanakosin period. Following this victory,
the Siamese king Taksin succeeded in driving the Burmese invaders from
the rest of Siam. His successor, Rama I, established the Chakri
Dynasty, which still rules Thailand today.
With the Burmese threat having receded, the Thais turned on their old enemies the Sultans of Pattani, Johore
and Malacca. As fate would have it, during this period in the 17th
Century, the Sultanate of Pattani had fallen into disarray and was in
gradual decline especially during the reign of last queens who ruled
Siezing the opportunity, Prince Surasi, Rama I's younger brother and vice-king, invaded Pattani. Pattani's
Sultan Muhammad was killed in battle and his capital razed to the
ground. According to Pattani sources, about 4,000 Malay soldiers were
enslaved as POWs and the most muscular of them were made to work on
system of khlongs in Thailand’s new capital Bangkok. To further
humiliate Pattani, the symbols of its military strength – the Seri
Patani and Seri Negara cannon - were brought to Bangkok. (The Phaya
Thani is a prized cannon that once belonged to the Sultan of Pattani
This gigantic cannon has a length of 6 meters and today stands in
front of the Thai Ministry of Defense in Bangkok. This cannon was
confiscated by Thai troops after their conquest of Pattani in 1785 and
the defeat of Rattanakosin the Sultan of Pattani. This cannon was
brought by the victorious Thais to Bangkok and was presented as war
booty to the Thai king Rama I.)
But for the people of Pattani, this war has not ended. The Muslim converts of Pattani never reconciled to the
reconquest of Pattani by the Thais and continued to terrorize the
Buddhist population intermittently throughout the 18th and 19th
centuries. In the 20th and 21st centuries this rebellion has taken the
form of an insurgency. And even to this day there are terrorist
incidents in Pattani, in which innocent students, teachers and
Buddhist monks are routinely murdered.
The Jihad against Malaysia today
Till today the Islam is a destablizing factor in Malaysia and finds expression in the activities of Indonesia based Jemmah Islamiya
led by the smiling terrorist, Abu Bakar Bashir, who along with the Malaysian Jihadis are plotting to transform
multi-ethnic Malaysia into an Islamic Caliphate, and fomenting trouble
in Southern Thailand.
So even though Malaysia is externally prospering, there is discontent simmering below the surface. The
Malays dislike their country being portrayed as a multi-ethnic nation.
For them Malaysia is not Truly Asia, they would want to replace the
current regime with an Islamic Caliphate, where the Hindus (Tamils),
Buddhists, (ethnic Chinese) and Christians are reduced to the status
of second class Dhimmis. So although most of the population has been
converted to Islam, till today the struggle of the few surviving
pre-Muslim Malays and the substantial non-Muslim Malays (ethnic
Chinese and Hindu Tamils) against Muslim domination goes on largely
Lessons from the struggle of Malay Buddhists and Hindus against Islam
The lessons from the continuing attempts in Malaysia by the Jeemah Islamia to convert the country in
to an Islamic Caliphate and foment trouble in Southern Thailand is
that the sneaky and ruthless tactics of the Muslims can only be
outmatched by we being more sneaky and ruthless ourselves. The old
English adage “Everything is fair in love and war,” holds greatest
relevance while battling the Muslims. And only when we in the
Non-Muslim world realize this and go into an overreach with subterfuge
against the Terrorists (all of whom are Muslims), and use our still
prevailing (but fast closing) edge of superior weapons against the
enemy, can the Muslims finally be defeated in the looming Third World