Gadhafi asked if Malay Muslims, the majority in the deep South, were properly treated, according to an official who attended the meeting.
Sonthi explained conflict in the region had nothing to do with religion. Of the 1.7 million Muslims in the southernmost provinces, only a few sought separation from Thailand. The majority plays a significant role in local administration, he was quoted as saying.
Gadhafi told Sonthi he was seeking clarification from senior officials because he had been "misinformed" that this predominantly Buddhist country discriminated against Muslims, and disturbances stemmed from this. He reads in the news media that Muslims are prevented from speaking their local dialect.
Gadhafi did not speak with reporters after the meeting. However, the official said Gadhafi will be reporting Sonthi's comments to members of the Organisation of Islamic Conference, the world's largest Muslimnation grouping.
The conference has been monitoring the situation in Thailand since violence flared up in early 2004. This has claimed more than 2,700 lives since then.
Gadhafi travels to the Philippines today where he will meet with the Muslim separatist group the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Gadhafi's foundation has assisted several projects in Mindanao.
Meanwhile, in Narathiwat, a suspected militant was shot dead as he allegedly resisted a search of his home yesterday.
Taskforce leader SubLieutenant Sarawud Unchanam said Mahama Dohni, 48, was killed when he fired at soldiers as they searched his Rusohdistrict residence.
District police chief Colonel Chumpol Premsiri said they were investigating the deceased's background. Relatives are questioning the need for a house search because the man had no previous record.
"Basically, if the suspect had done nothing wrong he had no reason to fire at officials," Chumpol said.
by Piyanart Srivalo