Three or four times a week, I like to take the kids on a walk around the canals (Klongs) and the village close to my house.
I live in a predominantly Muslim area and the Muslims seem to dominate the waterside areas where most of our walk takes place. It's lovely - fresh air and people living the waterside life are always up to something interesting - fishing and prepping fish, fixing their motorbikes, there's one Muslim family that's always playing soccer in their garden that backs on to the Klong. Always something to see.
These people are friendly without fault, there's very few Westerners where I live and I've never seen another white face walking the Klongs, so me & the 2 kids are a bit of a spectacle. Especially my 4 year old daughter with her light curly hair.
We cut through the Mosque on the way and there's always a bunch of old guys chewing the fat on the steps there. Again, all friendly people. Men, women and kids all smile and say hello - the kids usually say "Good Morning" even though it's in the afternoon but cool that they get to practice their English.
Then there's Soi 12. Total change. There is a Sunni school there. Now this isn't a rich kids school, so the metal detector and 'air lock' is odd. The 'air lock' is a 2 sets of double safety glass doors with a walk thru metal detector between them. Really odd when all the other schools in this area have no security at all - it's not required.
Anyway - if we go down Soi 12, there's lots of Sunni Muslim parents hanging out there and boy - are they the most unfriendly bunch you ever saw. My 4 year old daughter could melt an iceberg with her smile but you walk round there, smile at people, say hello - all you get back is the most evil stares. Guys hanging out in groups, don't just ignore you - they all stop talking and all give it the "evil eye". It's to the point where it is genuinely uncomfortable and feels threatening. Perhaps the only place I've felt threatened in the whole of Thailand.
I still walk through the area because I'm an arrogant Westerner who thinks "fuck these people - why shouldn't I walk where I want?" - but I am beginning to question the sanity of that point of view.
So Sunni Muslims - why are they so fkin miserable? I know this is just a few hundred people - but they are definitely NOT of a sunny disposition.