Peace Advocates Hold Forum on Religious Extremism

Close to 200 representatives from the military, religious, academe and other civil society organizations attended the forum on Religious Extremism in Contemporary Philippines held at the CICM Retreat House in Talisay City, this province.

Peace advocates hold a Forum on Religious Extremism in Contemporary Philippines in CICM Retreat House in Talisay City here, with resource persons (l-r) Ustadz Najeeb Razul – a Mufti and a Muslim religious leader/elder, Professor Alih Aiyub of the National Ulama Conference of the Philippines, Gen. Oscar Lactao of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Milet Mendoza, a humanitarian practitioner and peace worker.*(EAD-PIA6 photo)

The forum was organized by Alter Trade Foundation Inc. and the Paghiliusa sa Paghida-et Negros in partnership with the Office of the Commanding General of the Central Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Task Force Buglas of the Office of the Governor.

The AFP discussed the different terrorist groups that are threat to national security, while humanitarian practitioner and peace worker Milet Mendoza narrates her experiences as a captive in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf Group and her development work in Mindanao as well as understanding the Islamist Extremist’s Psyche.

“After my kidnapping, I would still look at myself as a peace maker. It is important that the role of independent civilians would be to facilitate dialogues between military people and the communities,” Mendoza shared.

Meanwhile, Ustadz Najeeb M. Razul, an Ulama or a religious leader and a Mufti or a Muslim legal expert, was once associated with some extremists until threats to life caused him his sight and limb when he ended associations with the extremists.

Razul shed light to the true meanings of Jihad and other Islam teachings.

“Islam is a religion that nurtures peace. It is a religion of sharing, of helping, of loving, because all of us wish to go to heaven. You cannot execute a person simply because of his religion, you cannot eliminate somebody just because of his faith. Islam teaches no compulsion in religion and I started vehemently condemning them and what they have been doing and our relationship started grape-souring,” Razul shared.

Professor Alih Aiyub, regional Secretary General of the National Ulama Conference of the Philippines (ZamBaSulTa), affirmed this when he said in his talk that Islam should not be used as an ideology for radicalism leading to terrorism.

“It is wrong to use Islam to justify terroristic activities.” Aiyub said that this was the declaration agreed during a national conference and summit of Muslim religious leaders they organized in Mindanao.

According to Aiyub, “We need counter narratives to the ideology of the ISIS and religio-spiritual interventions because ISIS use the Quran out of context,”*(JCM/EAD-PIA6 Negros Occ.)


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