OUR MARAWI:  We shall bridge religious gap and work towards defeating a common enemy

MARAWI CITY (MindaNews / 31 Oct) — To defeat the rise of violent extremism in our country, we emphasize on civilian participation and to take into account the role of both the community of Muslims and Non-Muslims alike.

Active community participation must be encouraged to complement the efforts of our state forces in curbing transnational crimes such as the recent terror attack in Marawi.

Parallel efforts between the security sector and civilian populace must be a continuing process in order to respond effectively and efficiently whenever threat of terror attacks emerge.

For one, Muslim community in this country must stand united against violent ideology and must dismiss terrorism as an act against the Islamic faith. A crime committed against innocent people on a pretext of a religious war must be condemned in form and in substance.

On the other hand, Christian majority in this country must also reinforce this effort by ensuring that any faith outside the doctrines of Catechism is not a proclivity to commit crime. This way, we prevent the rise of Islamophobia which in many cases evolve into bigotry, discrimination and even murder as in the case of the self-confessed, ultra-religious, armed christian group called “Ilaga” in the 70s.

Before the armed conflict in Marawi broke out, we were already familiar with the humanitarian crisis happening in Raqqa, Mosul and Aleppo. We were already aware of the costs on civilian lives and properties as a direct result of the protracted wars in these areas. However real the images we saw on news reports about ISIL atrocities in these Middle Eastern countries, it still didn’t come to us as an immediate security concern. It was a distant reality until the Marawi Siege happened.

We now realize that the threat is real although the realization came with a heavy price.

It is on this shared responsibility and understanding as citizens of this country, Muslims and Christians alike, that in order to keep our communities safer and more secure, we shall bridge religious gap and work towards defeating a common enemy.

There shall never be any greater security threat than what we have experienced in Marawi and can not overcome if we work together based on mutual belief that the enemy is not about religion but an ideology that is both foreign and violent.

Now let us move forward as one nation in rebuilding Marawi – a city that took all beating in order to keep other areas in our country safe. (MindaViews  is the opinion section of MindaNews. Our Marawi is open to anyone who wishes to share his/her thoughts on what is happening in Marawi, the country’s lone Islamic City. Zia Alonto Adiong is Majority Floor Leader at the Regional Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. He is currently the spokesperson of the Provincial Crisis Management Committee)