The principal of Samanmit Vittaya Secondary School in Narathiwat, Mahamad Lutfi
Hajisamae, who began the initiative of collecting these materials said the
school had become a collection center for these books since two years ago.
"Copies of the Quran collected are inherited from my ancestors, and some of them were obtained from countries like Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. We also managed to collect some Quran copies from local residents here.
"There is a Quran from Yemen, which was written in 1634," he said.
He said some copies of the Quran and kitab (books) were still in good condition, while most of them were partly damaged, requiring gloves to handle the delicate material.
"They need to be stored in an airtight room to avoid any humidity, so that they are not further damaged," he said.
Mahamad Lutfi said as many as 74 copies of the Quran had been restored by specialists in Turkey, and they were now kept in a special room in the school, while 29 others were still in the restoration process.
He said restoring these books took between eight months and a year, depending on the condition.
In addition to the Quran, the school has collected 15 categories of books and manuscripts of Fathoni ulamas (who came from the province of Pattani) such as religious, science and medical books, as well as manuscripts on boat building - totalling more than 1,000 units.
In efforts to preserve the copies, Mahamad Lutfi said Thailand's Ministry of Culture was working with the Turkish government to build an Islamic Heritage Museum at the school.
"We are carrying out a program to develop the museum with RM16.4 million (142 million Baht) in funds, and it is expected to be completed next year.
"I hope the museum will become one of the Islamic heritage development centers in the country, which will not only attract Muslims from the region, but also throughout the world," he said.