Ulama on Violence and Extremism in Islam to fellow religious leaders and the Youth

Contrary to the labeling of Islam as “violent extremism and terrorism” Muslim religious leaders from this city especially the Ulama (Islamic scholars) hold a two-day dialogue among themselves and with the youth from the Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi (ZAMBASULTA) to reflect and draft “doable actions” to help suppress the escalation of these ‘ideologists’ in the region as they too are denouncing these un-Islamic actions.

The activity dubbed as “A dialogue among the Ulama and Youth Leaders” carried the theme “Issues of Radicalism and Extremism Affecting the Peace Processes in Mindanao” was held last July 10 and 11 in a local hotel in the city. The said activity were sponsored by the Zamboanga Basilan Integrated Development Alliance (ZABIDA), Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ), Interreligious Solidarity for Peace (ISP), Zamboanga Peace and Security Forum (ZPSF) and the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG).

Aleem Jamal S. Munib, the convener of the dialogue said that violent extremism and terrorism are not Islam. “Islam is living in the culture of peace,” he said as he welcomes the religious leaders during the first day of the dialogue.

Aleem Munib admittedly said that there are many issues that are needed to be corrected in Islam, such the association of “violent extremism and terrorism” to Islam.

“I urge you [the Muslim religious leaders] to participate in the discussion as this is the right venue where we can make a difference,” he said adding that “the issues are not only affecting the peace processes but also affecting the harmonious relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims”.

Prof. Ali T. Yacub, the Muslim convener of the ISP and one of the initiators of the dialogue said that they recognize the “vital participation of the Ulama and other Muslim religious leaders in addressing the socio-political problem of the region,”

The Ulama and Youth dialogue was one of the outcomes of the recent peace forum conducted in the city by the stakeholders of peace particular the ISP and ZPSF together with security sector to assess the effect of the on-going Marawi City conflict brought by the Maute local terrorist group in the city and in the entire Mindanao Island. During the said peace forum it was revealed that the “foreign ideology” such as the violent extremism and terrorism are now penetrating the youth sector in the country especially in the southern Philippines making them vulnerable to recruitment.

Aleem Abdulmuhmin Mujahid, the Executive Director of the Regional Darul Iftar in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) who presented the topic “Why mobilize Ulama for Peace and Security” told the Ulama that the great Jihad is “teaching (to the youth) what the teaching of Islam is not advocating terror and fear.

The second day dialogue was centered on the youth where the resource speakers lectured the on the Qur’an Verses and Its Correct Application, Youth Vulnerability to Radicalism and the Common Words between You and Us.

Aleem Munib, challenged the youngmind to “understand correctly the Qur’an so that it can be applied correctly,”

The young participants were coming mostly from the Muslim Students Association (MSA) from ZAMBASULTA areas and other youth organizations.

Both the Ulama and the youth crafted doable actions to suppress the escalation of violent extremism and terrorism in the region as their culminating activity. (Albert F. Arcilla/Peace Advocates Zamboanga)

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Joint Iftar Celebration in Maluso, Basilan

In partnership with NAGDILAAB Foundation  Incorporated (NFI), Claret Samal Foundation Inc. (CSFI), Claret School of Maluso, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish and the Barangay Local  Government Units of Townsite, Upper  Portholland and Shipyard Tabuk, Maluso  Municipal Government Unit, headed by the Mayor Hanie A. Bud, initiated a joint Iftar  Celebration dubbed as “Ramadhan  Pagduwa’a” held on June 23, 2017 at covered court Barangay Townsite, Maluso Municipality.

More than 200 participants attended the said activity from the different community sectors of women, religious, civil society organizations, security sectors, academe, government line agencies, barangay local government units and youth.

The program was solemnly commenced with an opening prayer led by the Religious leaders both  Muslim and Christian. Mayor Hanie A. Bud delivered his  welcome message by saying that living in unity is possible. And each one of us should cooperate, be responsible and respectful towards ethnic  differences.

Professor Alih Aiyub, Secretary General of Darul IFTA highlighted some statement during his talk about the significance of Ramadhan in multicultural society, “To Love God, you shall love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

Fr. Angel Calvo, CMF, President of ZABIDA also imparted his solidarity message and emphasized that “Iftar celebration is the special time to renew our commitment, to continue walking together,  strengthen our brotherhood and fellowship, and to deepen our relationship through this celebration”.

Pastor Ronald Paulino, chairman of the United Evangelical Church Inc. (UECI) and Rev. Fr. Angel Angeles, CMF shared their Ramadan experiences during the celebration.

The evening gathering culminated with a dinner after holy prayer before maghrib (time for prayer and pagbukah/breaking of fast). (Meridith A. Ogoc, NAGDILAAB Foundation Inc./ZABIDA)

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Muslim Religious Leaders call to Stand United Against Extremism

Islamic Religious leaders are eyeing to call for a ‘conversation’ between the Shia and Sunni communities in the city to address the escalating issue of extremism  in the country and to settle the “intrafaith” problems within the believers of Islam.

 

“I propose for the Ulama Council (Muslim clerical body) to stand united and to have a conversation with the other group of Muslim in order to address the extremism especially the “hate doctrine” that is being spread out by some radical groups,” said Prof. Ali T. Yacub, Al-Hj. president of the group of Muslim professionals Golden Crescent Consortium of Peace Builders and Affiliates (GCCPBA) during a Peace and Security Forum.

 

The peace and security forum was spearheaded and facilitated by Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ), Interreligious Solidarity for Peace (ISP) and the Institute of Autonomy and Governance (AIG) held on June 28 in a local hotel here and was participated by several stakeholders of peace including the academe and the security sector.  

 

During the forum, it was pointed out by the Muslim religious leaders that “foreign indoctrinations” has been infiltrated in the minds of the local Muslims in the city especially the youth sector like the ideology of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

 

Theophil A. Galang, a Shia follower and belonging to the Ahlul Bayt Philippines Islamic Assembly (ABPIA) said that the Shia community in the Country is always signifying its intention to join any group in talking about battling “radicalism and extremism,”

 

Sheikh Loderson Gustaham, global consultant of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that “our youth now a day do not listen to our local scholars, instead, they are following the teaching of the foreign scholars.” He also that, to address the intrafaith problem, the Islamic scholar should be “independent” as not to create suspicion that they are belonging to the “other group.”

 

For Sheikh Abdulwakil Tanjilil, the Deputy Mufti for Zamboanga Peninsula and Palawan he clarified that there’s no conflict between the Shia and Sunni in the city and they are open for ‘dialogue’ with the other group.

 

Aside from the discussion on extremism, Capt. Ariel O. Lobusta, the Civil Military Officer of the Joint Task Force Zamboanga (JTFZ) briefed the audience on the security measures being implemented in the city with regards to the entering of lawless group and the spill-over of Marawi conflict in the city.

 

While Esperancita E. Hupida, the Executive Director of Zamboanga Basilan Integrated Development Alliance (ZABIDA), recently joined the solidarity mission in the cities of Marawi and Iligan with the other civil society group around Mindanao.  She  also shared her personal observation regarding the situation in the conflict area.

 

The forum ended with a planning on a doable intervention among the peace partners to prevent the further escalation of extremism in the region. (Albert F. Arcilla/Peace Advocates Zamboanga)

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National Arbor Day Community Tree Planting in Barangay Lamisahan

ZABIDA continues to commerate the Farmers and Fisher folk month in its series of Community Tree Planting activities which were spearheaded by the its partner-Farmers Association. For National Arbor Day last June 25, Barangay Lamisahan that is celebrating its Our Lady of Perpetual Help Fiesta, conducted Community Tree Planting Activity.

Rain or Shine, as was scheduled, the tree planting activity pursued. Although, there was a heavy downpour of rain earlier that morning, the weather still gave us the chance to move foward with the tree planting. This activity was spearheaded by the Farmer Sector members of Barangay Lamisahan, led by Eliser Alvarez and at the same time, a Verde Zamboanga Inc. members.

The participants planted 1000 seedlings of Narra, Palomaria, and Lawaan sponsored by Zamboanga City Water District. The seedlings were planted by the riverbank and some were allocated to Lamisahan Elementary school. The activity was made more meaningful as the Youth Solidarity for Peace members, who were there earlier for a prior activity with some of the security sectors from the Philippine Army 545 Engineering brigade, also joined the planting activity. Verde Zamboanga officers Ria Sabijon (ZAMCELCO) and Letty Enriquez (Brgy Patalon/ Women sector BOD) showed their support by being present and by participating in the said event.

ZABIDA continues its call for Climate Change Mitigation through planting trees with the community. (Karel B. Mellanes/VERDE Zamboanga Inc./ZABIDA) 

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