Friday, March 01, 2013

What's with Zamboanga City and religious Muslims?

Almost a year ago, a religious Muslim in Zamboanga City was murdered on his way out from his home. A convert to Islam and supporter of education for Muslim youth, Arturo Eustaquio III then the president of Universidad de Zamboanga, was gunned down just outside of his home in Santa Maria. The night before the murder, there was an Islamic symposium in his university and a number of non Muslim participants converted to Islam. It was also said that Eustaquio was planning to have an Islamic Studies course to be opened in the said university.

Just a little over a month ago in January of 2013, another religious Muslim has gone missing and until today he is nowhere to be found. Sheikh Basher Mursalun a religious Muslim scholar was reported to have been abducted by 'suspected operatives of the Philippine Center in Transnational Crime and the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force' who has until now have not acknowledge the custody of the victim'.

Moreover, Muslim women trying to practice their religion and donning their hijab or veil are not permitted to enroll in several educational institutions and hospitals.

So with this, I dare to ask, what's with you O Zamboanga City? What message are you trying to send to religious Muslims? Is there a militant anti-Muslim living in your city? Are there anti-Muslim religiosity drive happening in your city? Are you trying to fuel radicalization of the youth again?

Muslims should be patient and must not allow themselves to succumb to revenge and radicalization. These are all happening in the wake of the peace treaty signed by the GRP and MILF. Those who are opposed to this new phase of Bangsamoro history would do very well in looking for escape goats to thwart any chance for lasting peace.

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