Sotto won’t apologize for wearing Arab costume
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - November 2, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Vicente Sotto III is not apologizing for wearing an Arab attire during the Halloween presentation of Eat Bulaga on Saturday.

“Nothing to apologize for…there are many Arabs who liked it. Why will we apologize for something they like?” Sotto said. 

Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Mujib Hataman demanded an apology from Sotto and Joey de Leon, who was also dressed as a Muslim, saying they offended the Muslim community. 

“If that’s the way they think, I am now having second thoughts on my support for the BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law)” Sotto said.

Sotto said he would ask Hataman about his comments during the deliberations on the ARMM budget. “I will ask them why they have that kind of mentality. It’s embarrassing,” he said.

Sotto chided Hataman for his “misplaced sensitivities,” saying his attire is normally worn in Arab countries.

“He is wrong… I have been wearing that outfit for many years after a sheikh from Riyadh gave me one and asked me to wear it,” he said. 

“Others wear priests, nuns and even the pope’s outfit and as long as you are not disrespecting what you wear, there is nothing wrong. I suggest the people complaining should find out more about the origin of Halloween so they will not have misplaced sensitivities,” he added.

Sotto said he had worn the Arab attire in the show for the past 15 years but had not been criticized for it. He expressed concern why Hataman is making a big fuss about it now.

“They are silly. They think just because it’s Halloween you mean to scare people. Then they don’t know what All Saint’s Day and the origin of Halloween is all about.  I have many Arab friends and they are surprised at the misplaced sensitivities of some people,” he said.

Thaw’b

Peace activists said Sotto and De Leon’s attire is called a thaw’b, a casual dress for Muslim men.

They said many Muslim men wear it when they perform the five obligatory prayers and in their jumaah rites during Fridays.

“It’s saddening, so saddening to see them do travesty like that,” said Imam Rubhaini, an ethnic Tausog handling Islamic religious classes in a Madrasah school in Maguindanao.

Public school teachers in ARMM also expressed their disappointment. –With John Unson

ACIRC ALL SAINT AUTONOMOUS REGION BANGSAMORO BASIC LAW EAT BULAGA HATAMAN IMAM RUBHAINI MUJIB HATAMAN MUSLIM MINDANAO SOTTO SOTTO AND DE LEON
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