Muslim clerics, Maguindanao gov’t work together to fight extremism
John Unson (Philstar.com) - February 2, 2016 - 1:09am

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines - More than a thousand clerics, many of them women, convened here Monday and promised to help the provincial government prevent Islamic extremism from spreading through Maguindanao’s 36 towns.

The activity, organized by Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu and moderate preachers led by Ustadz Ishaq Katambak, was meant to build consensus among participating Islamic theologians and organizers on how to effectively quell religious extremism in the country’s south.

Mangudadatu had cautioned certain groups for insinuating that the failure of the House of Representatives to approve the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) could worsen Islamic extremism in areas the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) wants to group together under a Bangsamoro government.

“Let us not insinuate about war, about religious extremism. Why don’t we insinuate about prospects of peace, about the BBL’s not being dead? It’s still pending in Congress, awaiting approval,” Mangudadatu said.

Mangudadatu told clerics present in Monday’s convention on Islamic teachings on peace and co-existence, held in Buluan town, it is free education for children, via mainstream and religious schools offering subjects on Islamic concepts on respect for life and religious tolerance that can effectively defeat extremism.

Katambak said it is improper for people disappointed with the non-passage of the draft BBL to beat war drums and instigate uprising, or warn of rise of religious extremism in Southern Muslim communities as its consequence.

Like Mangudadatu, Katambak is also convinced that education is a good antidote for religious extremism.

Mangudadatu said his scholarship thrust for his constituent-youth sectors, the Maguindanao Program for Peace and Community Empowerment (MagPEACE), which now has more than 5,000 college scholars, is open to children of Islamic missionaries working in far-flung areas.

Clerics present in the convention assured the provincial government of their support in addressing religious extremism.

A woman who had studied Islamic theology, Fatima, said extremists have alarmingly been circumventing Islamic teachings on religious solidarity to suit their vested interests.

“Prophet Mohammad had told his followers that he or she who kills a non-Muslim in aggression, over religious division, can never smell the fragrance of paradise,” she said.

ACIRC BANGSAMORO BASIC LAW ESMAEL MANGUDADATU EXTREMISM HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ISLAMIC KATAMBAK LIKE MANGUDADATU MAGUINDANAO GOV MANGUDADATU RELIGIOUS
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