Muslim students rip intel order

Muslim students rip intel order

The Muslim Students Federation of Thailand (Mustfeth) on Wednesday petitioned the House committee on law, justice and human rights to look into a Special Branch Bureau (SBB) demand for information on Muslim students, which they say violates the constitution.

Mustfeth president, Ashraf Awae, submitted a petition to Future Forward Party (FFP) secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, who chairs the committee.

The petition was received by FFP spokeswoman Pannika Wanich, in her capacity as the committee's vice chairwoman.

The federation took issue with a letter sent out by SBB to tertiary education institutions, requesting detailed about their Muslim students as well as their extracurricular activities.

"The letter is a violation of Section 27 of the constitution, which guarantees equal rights and freedom," said Mr Ashraf.

Mr Ashraf went on to say that the request shows the government's distrust toward Muslims, which may cause further divisions in society.

Mustfeth wants the SBB to immediately withdraw the letter, which they see as singling out Muslim students for surveillance and interfering with the education institutions' affairs, he said.

"If the government wishes to deal with extremism, it should make a start by accepting that extremism exists in every single religion, not just Islam," he said.

After receiving the petition, Ms Pannika said the committee will take up the petition for examination as soon as possible.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Tuesday promised to look into the issue, but added that the police had earlier explained to him that such requests for information are nothing out of the ordinary.

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