In a meeting at the Office on Muslim Affairs here last Monday, leaders from the Tausug, Maranao, Maguindanaoan, Sangir, and Yakan tribes declared that terrorism has no place in Islam. They also renounced armed struggle as an instrument in resolving ethnic, social, economic, political and even religious differences.
“We jointly declare in unequivocal term our steadfast commitment to peace and unity and our firm support to the progress and development in the city and the rest of the country,” the leaders said in the ‘Joint Declaration of Peace, Unity and Progress.’
“We would continue our support and cooperation with all the law enforcement and internal security agencies of the government in our common and relentless drive against all forms of lawlessness, terrorism and anarchy,” the Declaration read.
The city has 481,000 residents. The 2000 survey put the Moro population in the city at nearly 30,000.
The Moro leaders also appealed to the media to use the word “Muslim” properly as appending “Muslim” to persons suspected of crimes or lawlessness “worsens the image of Muslims in general.”
Raja Muda Alimudin Hassan, head of the Royal House sa Sugoda Buayan, said “whenever a Muslim applies for a job, he could hardly be hired because there is that prejudice that Muslims are terrorists.”
“We would once again exhort the media not to discriminate against members of the national cultural minorities with their sweeping statements and unfair accusations against any tribe or religious groups,” they said.
Some of the reporters who were present replied that they mention the term “Muslim” because that’s what they read in the police blotter.
Lawyer Guialil Kanda, Field Director of the Office on Muslim Affairs, suggested that there must be a move to educate policemen on the term “Muslim” to avoid misusing it in their reports.
Imam Jimmy Ubpon, president of the Council of Imams in General Santos City explained, “You cannot call a person ‘Muslim’ if he robs, kills, kidnaps or engages in any crime against Islam.” He added, “It is very clear that a Muslim is a person who submits to the will of God.” (Gandhi C. Kinjiyo/MindaNews)