On Tuesday, Thailand's prime minister promoted Islamophobia in the most discriminatory way possible.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha defended the police in the country for requesting information about the minority Muslim students enrolled in universities in Thailand. The prime minister has said that the monitoring-like scheme was needed "to build a national security database" following a series of attacks that shook Bangkok last month.
A police source told Reuters the recent Islamophobic request was linked to the attacks on Aug. 2 that left four people injured when six small bombs and six other dangerous devices went off in the capital. The attacks led to the arrest of three people, all of whom are Muslim Malays from southern Thailand. The source even called Muslims "ill-intended" because that's sadly what Islamophobia is all about.
"We are worried about those ill-intended people who are infiltrating university students," the police source said.
The police had sent an official letter to a university, asking the latter to provide authorities with information about the numbers, places of origin, sect affiliation, and other details with regards to all its Muslim students. The name of the university has not been shared with the public.
"This is an interference to personal rights and a discrimination based on religion," said Angkhana Neelapaijit, former rights commissioner. She also added that "freedom of religion and the right to privacy were guaranteed by the Thai constitution."
The prime minister, however, believes the move will not breach anyone's rights. "The police already pointed out this is for the creation of a database on intelligence," Prayuth said.
"No rights have been breached. We cannot manage anything if we don't have data."
Muslim students are asking authorities to reconsider their discriminatory decision.
"The university should be a space where students can express their views freely and their rights are protected," said Ashraf Awae, president of the Muslim Students Federation of Thailand, according to Al Jazeera.