Like Barack Obama, Taha Basman of Lanao del Sur dreamt of a society where all, regardless of race and creed, were treated equally. Wasn't it just a few years back when the US Government refused him entry in the US because of his beard? Proving the government wrong, Taha remained undaunted and wrote heavily and spoke on religious tolerance. Recognized for his work, he became a constant US visitor after he became a US-funded scholar later.
Philanthrophist, interfaith advocate, publisher, school administrator, UNESCO Commissioner, Taha Basman, 57 of the Center for Muslim Moderates, is a tough act to follow. He lived peace to the end of his life. At 4 p.m. on January 23, he succumbed to a disease in his home in Maharlika Village, Taguig, just a week after convening the biggest gathering of Muslim leaders in January this year, the Philippine Muslim Conference in Dusit Hotel, Makati City.
Basman made home in Manila, among Christians, even married one civic-minded lady like him . Together, Taha and Anne, had a lovely brood of nine children, all bemedalled in school, and proud of their North and South identity.
Basman founded the Philippine Islamic Council and the Mindanao Research Institute. He also founded an Islamic integrated pre-school that and vocational school in Muslim-dominated Maharlika Village that has produced thousands of jobs for unemployed residents there.
He was co-convenor of the Ortigas-based Peacemaker's Circle along with popular interfaith advocates of the country. His wake will be at his home in Maharlika Village, Taguig. (Samira Gutoc/MindaNews)