DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/17 September)– Muslim religious leaders gathered here Tuesday afternoon and vowed to cooperate with the authorities to prevent the “aggravation” of the situation following the twin blasts that rocked the movie houses of SM City and Gaisano malls on Monday evening.
In a press conference, Alim Jamal Munib, executive director of the Madrasah Comprehensive Development Program, said they gathered to discuss security measures with the Task Force Davao.
“I’m urging the Moro communities to be vigilant,” he said before 50 imams, ulama and community leaders.
“If we notice strangers in our community and he or she doesn’t have any relatives in our respective communities, we will conduct verification why they are here,” Munib pointed out.
He said this has been a practice in Moro communities as part of their commitment to help maintain peace in the city.
Mohammad Pasigan, Grand Mufti or highest Muslim cleric in the Davao region, said whenever there are information that some unknown groups or individuals are in the city, they will immediately call a meeting among community leaders.
But Munib clarified that it does not mean that it is only the Muslims who may have some bad intentions in the city. “Maski na [even] non-Muslims, I’m making this appeal to all to be vigilant.”
Munib said the Moro community in the city condemns the bombings Monday night.
Pasigan urged the Moro community to cooperate with the city government in maintaining peace and order, because “our children and businesses are here.”
Pasigan also appealed to the media be sensitive in reporting in these situations, noting that Muslims should not be immediately blamed whenever there are bombings or any incidents.
“Hinihingin namin sa inyo na tukuyin ninyo muna ng mabuti, kunin ang pangalan bago ninyo sasabihin na mga Muslim ang may gawa nyan (We ask you to verify first before saying they are done by Muslims),” he appealed.
Pasigan also suggested for the media to be specific and identify which tribe they belong. “Say it if they are Maranaw, Maguindanaon, Tausug or Kalagan, instead of just saying Muslims.”
Meanwhile, Munib appealed to the government and Moro National Liberation Front to peacefully settle the on-going conflict in Zamboanga City.
“They must sit and talk together. Issues can be resolved through a dialogue,” he said. (Keith Bacongco / MindaNews