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                            Thailand - Thais will hold a congress on the Iranian sheik and merchant who caused dissemination of Islam in east of Asia

Thais are preparing to hold an international congress on the Iranian religious leader and merchant Sheik Ahmad Ghomi, the architecture of the relation between Iran and Thailand, and one of the heralds of Islam in east of Asia. According to a report by the Public Relations Department of Islamic Culture and Relations Organization, the congress will be held in December 2005 by the Iranian Cultural Center in Thailand, and different ministries, institutions, and academic centers of Iran and Thailand will collaborate on the event. The issues to be raised in the congress are: political, military, administrational, cultural, religious, and economic approaches to Sheik Ahmad Gomi's thought and methods; the role and influence of Sheik Ahmad in establishing cultural, religious, and social institutions; Sheik Ahmad's role in designing the policies for internal and foreign relations of Siam (Thailand); and finally Sheik Ahmad's role in the development of Iran-Thailand relations. Among other issues to be raised by the congress are: the potentialities for reinforcing the commonality of Iranian and Thai culture, language, religion, and art; Sheik Ahmad's motivation for his journey to Siam; Sheik Ahmad's strategy for sovereignty of Siam and improvement of the condition of the Iranians. The secretariat of the congress has declared a call for articles; Iranian or foreigners who are interested in the subject can send their articles written in English or Thai to the secretariat of the congress at the Office of Research and Education under the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization in Tehran. Sheik Ahmad Ghomi was born in 1543 in Ghom. As an experienced and learned man of 62, he arranged a cultural-commercial mission and left Iran for Siam (Thailand), and dwelled in Ayotaya, capital of Siam.
The year 1605 in which that farsighted thinker went on his self-exile, makes the turning point of the history of the relations between the two countries. During the 26 years of his remaining life Sheik Ahmad held an excellent place in the Royalty of Siam through his charity, good manners, and honor. He was highly respected by people and especially by the royalty. This allowed him to play an effective role in the dissemination of Iranian ways and especially the dissemination of Shiite religion and the improvement of condition of Iranians residing in Siam. One of his important achievements which, despite its 400-year history, still play an important role in Thailand is his founding of "Sheik Al Islami Institute" in a Buddhist country. Up to now The Institute has been used by Thai Governments as an apparatus for attending to the affairs of Thai Muslims. Today, as in the past, Sheik Ahmad's linkage bears a great weight in Thailand's internal and foreign affairs, and this adds to importance and value of Iranians. The high degree of attention paid to the Congress by cultural and political figures, and also different institutes and groups, caused the holders of the Congress to change their project of holding a commemoration ceremonial into an International Congress in which western and eastern thinkers who, during the past decades, have done remarkable studies on the issue, will congregate. Although researchers and thinkers from Thailand and other countries of East Asia have written extensively on the figure of Sheik Ahmad, he still remains unknown to Iranian thinkers and researchers. Sheik Ahmad is a great and influential figure whose ideas have been culturally, religiously and politically important and influential; therefore it is a good opportunity for Iranian researchers to study different aspects of his existence, including his thought, his ethics, his method of administration, and his valued and permanent works. We hope that Iranian thinkers will present their articles and, by so doing, create a good opportunity for better knowing of that great reformist and that herald of peace and friendship, and to introduce him – as a cultural heritage, a scientific source, and an epitome of manhood – to all peoples of the world. 
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