Islamic Religious leaders are eyeing to call for a ‘conversation’ between the Shia and Sunni communities in the city to address the escalating issue of extremism in the country and to settle the “intrafaith” problems within the believers of Islam.
“I propose for the Ulama Council (Muslim clerical body) to stand united and to have a conversation with the other group of Muslim in order to address the extremism especially the “hate doctrine” that is being spread out by some radical groups,” said Prof. Ali T. Yacub, Al-Hj. president of the group of Muslim professionals Golden Crescent Consortium of Peace Builders and Affiliates (GCCPBA) during a Peace and Security Forum.
The peace and security forum was spearheaded and facilitated by Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ), Interreligious Solidarity for Peace (ISP) and the Institute of Autonomy and Governance (AIG) held on June 28 in a local hotel here and was participated by several stakeholders of peace including the academe and the security sector.
During the forum, it was pointed out by the Muslim religious leaders that “foreign indoctrinations” has been infiltrated in the minds of the local Muslims in the city especially the youth sector like the ideology of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Theophil A. Galang, a Shia follower and belonging to the Ahlul Bayt Philippines Islamic Assembly (ABPIA) said that the Shia community in the Country is always signifying its intention to join any group in talking about battling “radicalism and extremism,”
Sheikh Loderson Gustaham, global consultant of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that “our youth now a day do not listen to our local scholars, instead, they are following the teaching of the foreign scholars.” He also that, to address the intrafaith problem, the Islamic scholar should be “independent” as not to create suspicion that they are belonging to the “other group.”
For Sheikh Abdulwakil Tanjilil, the Deputy Mufti for Zamboanga Peninsula and Palawan he clarified that there’s no conflict between the Shia and Sunni in the city and they are open for ‘dialogue’ with the other group.
Aside from the discussion on extremism, Capt. Ariel O. Lobusta, the Civil Military Officer of the Joint Task Force Zamboanga (JTFZ) briefed the audience on the security measures being implemented in the city with regards to the entering of lawless group and the spill-over of Marawi conflict in the city.
While Esperancita E. Hupida, the Executive Director of Zamboanga Basilan Integrated Development Alliance (ZABIDA), recently joined the solidarity mission in the cities of Marawi and Iligan with the other civil society group around Mindanao. She also shared her personal observation regarding the situation in the conflict area.
The forum ended with a planning on a doable intervention among the peace partners to prevent the further escalation of extremism in the region. (Albert F. Arcilla/Peace Advocates Zamboanga)