The Central Islamic Council of Thailand
Overview of Muslims in Thailand
Historically, politically and culturally Muslims have been an integral part of Thailand for centuries. Islam is not only the second largest religion in the kingdom but also enjoys the royal and official patronage. The Thai law provides for freedom of religion, and the Royal Thai Government (RTG) generally respects this right in practice. Thai Constitution promotes “equality of rights and liberties” of the people, as seen in some following sections Section 5. The Thai people, irrespective of their origins, sexes or religions, shall enjoy equal protection under this Constitution.
Section 37. A person shall enjoy full liberty to profess a religion, a religious sect or creed, and observe religious principles or religious precepts or exercise a form of worship in accordance with his or her belief; provided that it is not contrary to his or her civic duties, public order or good morals.
According to the Act on the Application of Islamic Law in the Territorial Jurisdictions of Pattani, Narathiwat, Yala and Satun Provinces, B.E. 2489 (1946), the Islamic Law on Family and Succession except the provisions on prescription in respect of succession shall apply instead of the Civil and Commercial Code in giving a judgment in civil cases concerning family and succession of Muslims.
At present there are altogether around 3,900 mosques throughout the country and 180 of them are in Bangkok Metropolis. Some 600 Muslim schools offer secular as well as religious instruction. All in all, Thailand's Muslims enjoy full state support and are free to teach and practice their religion according to their own tenets.
Estimates by academics, and religious groups state that approximately 85 to 90 percent of the population is Theravada Buddhist, and up to 9 or 10 percent of the population is Muslim. In this atmosphere of openness, Thai society remains Thai or “THAINESS” in its essence, one people living peacefully together with a common objectives, no matter what religious beliefs they may hold.
Islamic Affairs in Thailand
According to the Administration of Islamic Organization Act B.E. 2540 (A.D. 1997), His Majesty the King appoints a Sheikhul-Islam as the leader of the Islamic affair in Thailand. Legally the Prime Minister submits the name of the person who receive the approval from all provincial Islamic Committee throughout the country to be Sheikhul-Islam to His Majesty the King for the Royal Appointment as Sheikhul-Islam. The Sheikhul-Islam is the president of “ The Central Islamic Council of Thailand (CICOT)” with the committee which is appointed by His Majesty the King from the 39 Provincial Islamic Council (PIC). Other members of the CICOT are selected by the Sheikhul-Islam, of which the member is one-third of the whole number of the representative of the provincial council.
On behalf of Regulation of the Central Islamic Council of Thailand of the management of Halal Affairs B.E. 2558. By virtue of section 18(5 (9) of the administration of Islamic organization Act B.E. 2540. The central Islamic Council of Thailand has organized expenses which get from the fee of Halal certification and is partly supported by the government. CICOT is non-profit organization no any member related to Bank.
Timelines of Thailand’s Halal Affairs
1948 Thai government proposed the strategy towards establishing Halal Food Hub in Southern region
1998 Ministry of Industry adopted Codex Halal standard as Thailand’s Halal standard (Ref: General guidelines for use of the term “Halal” of FAO 1997)
1999 ASEAN Nations set up a Halal food guidelines for the member countries
2001 The Central Islamic Council of Thailand (CICOT) set up regulations for Halal certification / accreditation as common nation standard for the whole country
2003 Thai government provided the financial support in initiating the development of Halal - HACCP system Thai government sponsored the establishment of The Halal Standard Institute of Thailand under CICOT and establishment of The Halal Science Centre at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok
2009 CICOT issued Regulation of Halal Affair Management, and set measure and quality control of Halal Products and the use of Halal Logo
The Central Islamic Council of Thailand
Established under the Administration of Islamic Organization Act B.E. 2540 (A.D. 1997)
1. Sheikhul Islam of Thailand, The Chairman of the board.
2. The boards which are appointed from the provincial Islamic committee by the King. They are the delegations of the provincial Islamic committee from 36 provinces by once a province and the period is 6 years.
3. Other boards which are selected by Sheikhul Islam of Thailand are one-thirds of the number of delegations of the provincial Islamic committee and the period is 6 years.
The main activities and services are following :
1. Giving an advice to government.
2. Issuing the certification of Halal Products.
3. Documents translation of English and Arabic.
4. Certification of documents.
5. Certification of marriage/divorce
6. Certification of conversion to Islam.
7. Answering the religions problems.
8. Propagation and Promotion of Islam thru journal, radio, television, website, etc.
9. Diagnosing, mediation/ judgement of the disputes between organizations following by the law.
10. Public interest and social responsibility.