In the quiet hours of a Sunday morning in bustling Bangkok, the spiritual beacon of Thailand’s Muslims, Aziz Phitakkumpol, breathed his last in a local hospital, parting from the world at the dignified age of 76. His departure, announced by the Sheikul Islam Office, comes as a profound shock, arriving merely a day after the brutal demise of his sibling.
Aziz, as the revered 18th Chularajmontri, or Thailand’s Muslim spiritual leader, succumbed at precisely 10:32 am at the renowned King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital following an unnoted ailment that necessitated his admission.
Amid the sorrowful air, his funeral rite is set for an appointed hour of 10 am on the bright Monday morn. The solemn event will unfold at the central mosque located in the quaint district of Hat Yai, burrowed deep in his birth province of Songkhla.
A distinguished individual and a respected figure, Aziz Phitakkumpol was born on the 6th of March, 1947. His illustrious career bore witness to several authoritative roles, ranging from a senator to being the Chairman of the Central Islamic Council of Thailand. He was also the presiding chairman of the esteemed Islamic committee nestled in the province of Songkhla.
Tales of tragedy had started unfurling a day prior when Aziz’s younger brother, Loh Phitakkumpol, aged 71, became a victim of a violent roadside onslaught in the Sing Nakhon district of Songkhla. Armed with a 50-centimetre-long knife, a 42-year-old man repeatedly assaulted him, the local resident, Rohim Kongkalimeen, who appeared to be a prisoner of narcotics, was later apprehended by the police. The onslaught resulted in Loh succumbing to his wounds at Songkhla Hospital.
The grief-stricken cloud over the week magnified as shortly after, the air force was called out to perform their solemn duty. They transported the body of the late Chularajmontri from Bangkok’s Wing 6 to his native Songkhla province. This act demonstrated an unusual confluence of honour, respect and sadness, all sailing on a military C-130 plane and marking the end of an era.