DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 17 Sept) — A Muslim religious leader here said they are amenable to the new security measures imposed in the city following the September 2 bombing that left 15 persons dead and injured 69 others.
Aleem Mahmod Mala Adilao, a member of the board of the Bishops-Ulama Conference told a press conference Friday that they do not see anything wrong with this new security set-up if it can help the police authorities secure the city well.
But Adilao said Muslim women cannot be frisked by male police personnel but only by policewomen or female security personnel.
In a statement released by City Information Office, Mayor Sara Duterte said the new security protocol applies to face covers, hats, sunglasses, facemasks, mouth masks, and face paint in which “law enforcement officers have expressed their opinion that it would be a good security practice to disallow garments that cover the faces in public places.”
Instead of wearing burqa in public places, the mayor asked the Muslim women to wear the hijab (veil) instead as “the general welfare of the majority takes precedence over religious tradition” after the September 2 explosion that killed 15 and wounded 69 others at the night market along Roxas Avenue.
“I understand the sentiments of our Muslim sisters with regard to the burqa. May I suggest that you wear the hijab which shows your face or cooperate with the security personnel and show your face if you are wearing the burqa,” she said.
Most Moro women in the city prefer to wear hijab which covers the head and neck but not the face, over the burqa (one-piece veil that covers the face and body, leaving only an opening for the eyes) or the niqab, which covers the face except for the eye area.
Sr. Supt. Michael Dubria, city police director, said only policewomen or female security guards can do security check on Moro women wearing burqas, preferably in a “makeshift enclosure” in order not to offend them and maintain respect for their religion.
“Kami sa kapulisan we are also thinking how not to offend other religions. But we have to make sure that Davao City will be safe and secure,” said Dubria.
Dubria said they might require big establishments in the city to assign female guards to conduct security check on Moro women in makeshift enclosures.
“We will make arrangement or require these malls to put up enclosures to do it in private in a way that is not embarrassing to their culture,” he said.
Police filed before the City Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesday multiple murder charges against nine suspects in the September 2 blast, three of them women. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)