Thailand’s top Muslim leader on Tuesday urged police to drop an order requiring universities to compile a list of Muslim students and activities they are involved in, for entry into a law enforcement database.
In a letter to National Police Chief Chakthip Chaichinda, Sheikhul Islam Aziz Phitakkumpon said the requirement was discriminatory and unconstitutional.
“The Sheikhul Islam Office has learned about the matter and has great concern because if the special branch police and universities implement the inquiry, it discriminates against Muslim citizens in Thailand,” he said. “And it contradicts Article 27 of the Constitution which states that each individual is legally equal in terms of rights, liberty and protections under the law.”
“The Sheikhul Islam Office requests the [national police chief] consider ordering the special branch police to stop implementing unfair practices on Muslims and all other groups of people to maintain the country’s stability and security,” Aziz said in the letter.
The letter said the compiling of such information could foster division among different groups throughout Thailand and further alienate people in the Deep South region where some ethnic Malay Muslims have waged an armed fight for independence for more than 15 years.
The Deep South borders Malaysia and encompasses Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala provinces as well as four districts in neighboring Songkhla. Almost 7,000 people have been killed in violence in the region since a separatist insurgency reignited in 2004.
“The government must rule the country fairly and squarely to build awareness and love for the homeland. … Discrimination alienates people and may lead to greater separatism efforts,” the letter warned.
Full story: BenarNews
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