Moro community grieves murder of MSU-GenSan professor

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 27 May) – The Muslim community in Region 12 is grieving the death of a Muslim university professor and peace advocate from the hands of still unknown gunmen in nearby General Santos City (GenSan).

Mohamad Taha Abdulgapor at the Bangsamoro Development Agency office. Photo courtesy of the BDA Facebook page

Mohamad Taha Abdulgapor, an instructor of Islamic Studies at the Mindanao State University – GenSan campus, was shot dead at past 5 p.m. Tuesday along the national highway in Barangay Apopong.

Muslim leaders condemned on Wednesday the murder of Abdulgapor as they urged authorities to thoroughly investigate the slaying.

Abdulgapor was driving the family vehicle when the gunmen attacked, resulting also to the wounding of the victim’s wife, Salimah, who was seated beside him.

They were on their way home to nearby Polomolok, South Cotabato. The wife was hit in the arm and has been declared out of danger by attending physicians.

“He’s a big loss to the local peace movement. We looked up to him as an exemplary Muslim leader who is a good lecturer in Islamic studies and finance,” said Gandhi Kinjiyo, vice president of Katiyakap, Inc., which is advocating for peace, Islamic financing and the halal industry.

“Prof. Taha will be remembered as a peace advocate. He strongly discouraged violent extremism on various occasions that we invited him as a resource speaker,” he told MindaNews on the phone.

Apart from being a university professor, Abdulgapor is a member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) local monitoring team in South Cotabato and serving also in the Bangsamoro Development Agency, the MILF’s development arm.

In November 2018, Abdulgapor told this reporter he fully supported the creation of a new Bangsamoro region, now known as the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, although he lives outside the region then known as the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Quraish Langcap, an organizer for the United Bangsamoro Justice Party, the MILF’s political party, also described Abdulgapor as a respected Muslim leader.

“He will be sorely missed by many who seek his advices,” Langcap said in a separate phone interview.

Also condemning the murder, Former Akbayan party-list Rep. Mario Aguja, who teaches sociology at MSU-GenSan, said the slaying of Abdulgapor was a sad day for his colleagues at the academe.

“He will be remembered as the peace educator [and] advocate who died violently,” Aguja said on social media.

“When will the kilings stop? We call for justice for Prof. Taha. Justice for all victims of senseless deaths,” he added.

A report from the Philippine News Agency said that investigators from the GenSan city police command were still determining the motive for the attack as well as the identities of the gunmen. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)