Muslim Council Leaders Installed in Bay’-a Ceremony

Zamboanga City – “THERE’S no one like Alim Jamal who challenged the Ulama and Muslim professionals to take a decisive step towards a culture of peace and development as what is strongly advocated. And this challenge was positively accepted.”

These were the words spoken in Tausug by Alim Ishaq Muhammad as he welcomed guests and visitors to the Bay’–a (Covenant) ceremony of the United Muslim Council for Peace and Development (UMCPD) last July 25 at Amil’s Tower Convention Hall. It was an affair well-attended by different Muslim leaders, professionals and women, heads and chiefs of the Philippine National Police and Task Force Zamboanga, socio-civic leaders, as well as local government officials.

By virtue of a resolution created by UMCPD-Davao, its mother chapter, UMCPD Zamboanga was incorporated. The excerpt of the resolution was elaborately read by UMCPD-Davao President Sultan Tahir Polao. In sum, the resolution accepted UMCPD-Zamboanga as its new chapter. It also stated that its acceptance was timely as the organization aims to expand its membership in different regions of Mindanao.

Instead of holding the usual induction of its newly-elected officers, UMCPD officers held a more customs-bound ceremony. Each of the officer in ascending order gave their bay’-a (covenant) in Tausug before the audience. But for the benefit of the non-Tausug speaking addressees, an English translation was read by the host.

According to Prof. Ali T. Yacub, Consultant for Academe and Media Affairs, the officers wanted a more solemn and intimate ceremony when making their oaths of office. The Public Affairs Director of the Western Mindanao State University also served as host of the ceremony.

UMCPD-Zamboanga officers are headed by its President, Alim Jamal S. Munib, followed by Alim Ishaq Mohammad, Vice-President; Alim Walid Abubakar, Secretary for Arabic; Engr. Ibrahim P. Dugasan, Secretary for English; Alim Abdulnasser Abdurahman, Treasurer; Alim Muhaimin Sakili, Deputy Treasurer; and Alim Abdulhamid Jamiri, Auditor.

Gen. Muhammad Nur Askalani, Gen. Sukamo DG Ikbala, Sr. CSEE, and Col. Jubail Kamlian serve as the organization’s consultants.

“We need peace and development, and all the efforts towards peace and development are so much needed now especially that terrorism is a global battle,” said Mayor Celso L. Lobregat in his keynote message.

UMCPD President Munib vowed his organization will work for greater solidarity and cooperation between the city’s Muslims, Christians and other communities.

He said the organization “want(s) to correct the perception that Muslims are terrorists or being lumped together as terrorists.”

“By doing so,” he said, “the resentment of some Muslims will gradually change into amity with harmonious spirit. Support us in our endeavor and Inshallah we shall reap the fruits of our effort sooner than we expect.”

Also present were City Councilor Asbi Edding, Peace Advocates Zamboanga President Fr. Angel Calvo, Zamboanga City Chief of Police Sr. Supt. Manuel Barcena, and Task Force Zamboanga Chief Col. Peralta.

Since its inception in Davao, UMCPD has built several mosques and madaris for Muslim communities. One special project was the launching of the handbook entitled “Soldier’s Handbook to Understand Muslims,” which is authored by retired Lt. Col. Yusop A. Jimlani of the Philippine Army. The Australian Economic and Political Officer Fely Bowen has shown interest on reprinting handbook.

Their membership extends from Davao to General Santos, COMVAL Province and now Zamboanga City. UMCPD is expected to initiate oath taking activities of members from Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and Jolo in the coming days.

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