Tagging Islamic preachers in Basilan killings hit

Kawagib (Maguindanaon term for justice) viewed this as an attack against Islam and an act of “demonizing” Muslim believers.

It also fears that arbitrary arrests might happen again in Moro-dominated provinces, especially in Basilan, because of the inclusion of these Muslim preachers in the warrants of arrest.

The group expressed alarm of a possible retaliation from the families of those preachers who might be arrested.

“Even minors are also included in the list and tagged as members of the Abu Sayyaf,” the group noted. “Who were their sources? Who gave them the names?” Kawagib asked.

The group urged the government to be extra careful in including in the list ustadzes (religious leaders) and preachers so as to prevent violent reprisal.

Even before the results of the joint government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front fact-finding team were released, Kawagib noted, the Regional Trial Court in Basilan already issued warrants for the arrest of 127 men believed to be involved in the killing of 14 Marines, 10 of them mutilated. Of the list, 15 were Islamic teachers and preachers. 

“Including Muslim leaders and preachers in the warrants of arrest can be considered as an attack to religion and demonizing the Muslim faith. This shows the government is singling out the Moro people in Mindanao as killers and terrorists,” the group said. (Malu Cadeliña Manar / MindaNews)