The clock said it was nearly evening prayer time for Chiang Mai's At-Taqwa community. Women rushed home while men of all ages gathered at the mosque. The sun was going down yet everybody's spirit was uplifted as they paid respect to Allah.
The salat prayer was conducted in Arabic and the picture looked typical for Muslim worship, except for one thing. Many of the worshippers looked very Chinese.
"We feel we are Chinese descendants. At the same time, we also feel we are Thais. We even feel we are northern locals," explained Assistant Professor Suchart Setthamalinee. A member of the Central Islamic Council of Thailand of the At-Taqwa Muslim community, he is also of Chinese descent. "This is a good mix of identity. When it comes to social and cultural identity, I believe there is no such thing as uniqueness. There are always cultural combinations in all communities."
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