The Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began on May 27, will come to an end at sundown on Saturday, June 24, or Sunday, June 25 (depending on the moon). During this time, Muslims in Thailand will gather to pray and celebrate with family and friends. While practices vary by area, Eid al-Fitr celebrations are likely to have an impact on many businesses and services in Muslim communities that will close or significantly reduce their hours of operation beginning on Saturday or Sunday evening; similar disruptions could also continue into coming days.
Eid al-Fitr celebrates the conclusion of 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting and remains one of the most important dates on the Muslim calendar. Generally speaking, the month of Ramadan is historically marred by a significant increase in terrorist threats and as such there is a potential for attacks to be carried out during Eid celebrations.
Nearly 5 percent of the Thai population is Muslim. A separatist insurgency in Thailand's three Muslim-majority southern provinces of Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat has claimed more than 6800 lives since it erupted 13 years ago, with both militants and Thailand's military accused of human rights abuses. Low-intensity bombings and assassinations often occur in the area, which is heavily patrolled by soldiers and police. Thailand annexed the three southernmost Muslim Malay provinces more than a century ago and there is an underlying resentment against the rule from Bangkok.
Individuals in Thailand are advised to remain vigilant and to avoid large public gatherings.
Most Western governments advise against nonessential travel to Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat, as well as the province of Songkhla and areas along the Cambodian and Burmese borders due to the presence of armed militias.
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