I read Mr Dean's reply in The Nation letters yesterday. I recommend he read the International Crisis Group's "Southern Thailand: Insurgency, Not Jihad" Asia report published in May 2005.
It is available for free download. There are other related reports from the ICG. And there are reports from Human Rights Watch on the southern Thailand conflict. ICG and HRW are international agencies and both are credible groups.
In 2005, the government's National Reconciliation Commission, under the chairmanship of former prime minister Anand Panyarachun, also concluded that religion was not the issue in the South. The NRC report is also available on the internet.
I am not trying to convince Mr Dean to adopt my position. Everyone is free to form their own opinions. It is just that many people picture Islam a certain way since the 9/11 tragedy, which happened in 2001. The conflict in the deep South is 105 years old and has its own political narrative.
Nor do I suffer from any of the Islamic phobias mentioned by Mr Dean. He views me as a Muslim based on my name while I do not know what faith is. My comment was not religion oriented as he imagines but academic.