ABSTRACT There has been a vast corpus of literature on Islam and Muslims since 9/11 that sought to locate the basis of Muslimness in some primordial essentialist cultural value. Since then, many Muslim religious boarding schools in predominantly Muslim countries in South and Southeast Asia have been policed and raided. This essay, based on fieldwork conducted in Thailand’s far-south, hope to provide a different picture from what has commonly been portrayed about the ponok (traditional Muslim schools), as rigidly strict and pious or as the playground for radical Islam. What concern me are the lives and livelihoods of the ponok students should the fear about Islam continues unabated, or when these children have no idea why they are being sought after or whose interests they are serving.
Cite this paper
Yong, K. (2012). There Are ponoks, and There Are ponoks: Traditional Religious Boarding Schools in Thailand's Far-South. Advances in Anthropology, 2, 161-168. doi: 10.4236/aa.2012.23019.
 Agamben, G. (2005). The time that remains: A commentary on the letter to the Romans. In P. D. Stanford (Trans.), Stanford: Stanford University Press.
 Anusorn, U. (2010). We love “Mr. King”: Exceptional sovereignty, submissive subjectivity, and mediated agency in Islamic Southern Thailand. Ph.D. Thesis, Washington DC: University of Washington.
 Arendt, H. (1969). On violence. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
 Arendt, H. (2005). The tradition of political thought. In J. Kohn (Ed.), Arendt, the promise of politics (pp. 58-59). New York: Schocken.
 Asad, T. (2003). Formations of the secular: Christianity, Islam, modernity. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
 Chaiwat, S.-A. (2006). The silence of the bullet monument: Violence and “truth” management, Duson-nyor 1948, and Kru-Ze 2004. Critical Asian Studies, 38, 11-38. doi:10.1080/14672710600556411
 Chaiwat, S.-A. (2008). Untying the Gordian knot: The difficulties in solving southern violence. In J. Funston (Ed.), Divided over Thaksin: Thailand’s coup and problematic transition (pp. 96-109). Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.
 Chaiwat, S.-A. (2009). Imagined land? The state and southern violence in Thailand. Tokyo: Research Institute for Language and Cultures of Asia and Africa.
 Comaroff, J., & Comaroff, J. (2003). Ethnography on an awkward scale: Postcolonial anthropology and the violence of abstraction. Ethnography, 4, 147-179. doi:10.1177/14661381030042001
 Crapanzano, V. (2003). Imaginative horizons: An essay in literaryphilosophical anthropology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
 Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (1983) . Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and schizophrenia. Minneapolis, MN: The University of Minnesota Press.
 D’Souza, D. (2007). The enemy at home: The cultural left and its responsibility for 9/11. New York: Broadway.
 Freedman, M. (1975). An epicycle of Cathay or the southward expansion of the sinologists. In R. J. Smith (Ed.), Social organization and the applications of anthropology (pp. 302-332). Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
 Hefner, R. (2002). Global violence and Indonesian Muslim politics. American Anthropologist, 104, 754-765.
 Helbardt, S. (2011). Deciphering Southern Thailand’s violence: Organisation and insurgent practices of BRN Coordinate. Ph.D. Thesis, Passau: University of Passau.
 Huntington, S. (1998). The clash of civilization and the remaking of world order. New York: Simon & Shuster.
 Joll, C. (2012). Muslim merit-making in Thailand’s far-south. New York: Springer.
 Kasian, T. (2006). Toppling Thaksin. New Left Review, 39, 5-37.
 Khalidi, R. (2009). Sowing crisis: The Cold War and American dominance in the Middle East. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.
 Kilcullen, D. (2009). The accidental guerrilla: Fighting small wars in the midst of a big one. New York: Oxford University Press.
 Liow, J. (2009). Islam, education and reform in Southern Thailand: tradition and transformation. Singapore Ctiy: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.
 Madmarn, H. (1989). Pondok and change in South Thailand. In R. Scupin (Ed.), Aspects of developments: Islamic education in Thailand and Malaysia (pp. 47-92). Bangi: ATMA, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Press.
 Madmarn, H. (2003). Secular education, values and development in the context of Islam in Thailand: An outlook on Muslim attitudes towards Thai educational policy. In S. F. Alatas, L. T. Ghee, & K. Kuroda (Eds.), Asian interfaith dialogue. Perspectives on religion, education and social cohesion (pp. 66-77). Singapore City: Centre for Research on Islamic and Malay Affairs (RIMA).
 Mamdani, M. (2002). Good Muslim, bad Muslim: A political perspective on culture and terrorism. American Anthropologist, 104, 766775. doi:10.1525/aa.2002.104.3.766
 McCarthy, A. (2010). The grand jihad: How Islam and the left Sabotage America. New York: Encounter Books.
 Narongraksakhet, I. (2005). Pondoks and their roles in reserving Muslim identity in Southern Brder Provinces of Thailand. In U. Dulyakasem, & L. Sirichai (Eds.), Knowledge and conflict resolution: The crisis of the border region of Southern Thailand (pp. 70-128). Nakhon Sri Thammarat: Walailak University.
 Nik, A. N. M. (1988). Anglo-Thai relations, 1945-1954. Ph.D. Thesis, Hull: University of Hull.
 Noor, F. (2007). Pathans to the east! The development of the Tablighi Jama’at movement in Northern Malaysia and Southern Thailand. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 27, 7-25. doi:10.1215/1089201x-2006-040
 Noor, F. (2009). Qur’an and cricket: Travels through the Madrasahs of Asia and other stories. Kuala Lumpur: Silverfish Books.
 Nordstrom, C. (2004). Shadows of war: Violence, power, and international profiteering in the twenty-first century. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
 Surin, P. (1985). Islam and malay nationalism: A study of the MalayMuslims of Southern Thailand. Bangkok: Thai Khadi Research Institute.
 Talebi, S. (2011). Ghosts of revolution: Rekindled memories of imprisonment in Iran. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
 Thanet, A. (2008). Origins of Malay Muslim “separatism” Southern Thailand. In M. Montesano, & P. Jory (Eds.), Thai South and Malay North: Ethnic interactions on a plural peninsula (pp. 91-123). Singapore: National University of Singapore Press.
 Thongchai, W. (1994). Siam mapped: A history of the geo-body of a nation. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
 Schmitt, C. (1996) . The concept of the political. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
 Suwannathat-Pian, K. (1988). Thai-Malay relations. Traditional intraregional relations from the seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. East Asian historical monographs. Singapore City: Oxford University Press.
 Tambiah, S. J. (1996). Leveling crowds: Ethnonationalist conflicts and collective violence in South Asia. Berkeley: University of California Press.
 Wan, K. C. M. (1990). Muslim separatism: The Moros of Southern Philippines and the Malays of Southern Thailand. Singapore City: Oxford University Press.