Last July 28, 2014 was the Eidl Fitr as declared by the Darul Ifta of our country. Darul Ifta is the group of Muslim clerics, religious leaders, from different regions in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. We are happy in that Ateneo de Davao University our university president declared a half day holiday on this day. This was to give time for our Muslim students, staff, and administrators to pray in the mosque for the Idl Fitr sunnah prayer. The half day holiday was also to give us time with our families and friends to enjoy the feast of Hariraya Idl Fitr.
Every after Ramadhan, I feel recharged. I feel renewed. The less than a month spent for fasting, praying, and helping some of the Muslim communities in Davao City, reminds me of my duties and responsibilities as a Muslim, a member of our community, a citizen of this republic, and a Muslim of the bigger Ummah (transnational Muslim community.). Thus, this year’s Ramadhan gave us time to reflect and discern on couple of things: the Bangsamoro peace processes; the political and economic reforms in our government; the Israel’s genocide in Gaza; and the evils committed by ISIS.
Bangsamoro peace process: As we all wait to the enactment of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), we continue engaging our communities from the different regions and cities in Mindanao. Last July 22, 2014, I was invited in a peace convocation organied by the Ateneo de Zamboanga University. I was invited to share my personal experiences in peace building as community organiser and a former public official in my home province. In that event, I realised that the city, which is also called by its people as the ‘Latin City’ of Asia is full of diverse communities and identities. The Chabacanos have a rich history. They are proud of their own heritage. However, the city’s connection and link with the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi Tawi requires its people for a serious inter religious dialogue and healing of the past.
Going back to the BBL, both the government and the MILF peace panels admit the challenges that they are facing with regard to the 1987 Philippine Constitution. However, this is not being discussed at the grassroots communities. We have to admit that our present constitution has limitations in accommodating the proposed provisions on power sharing (specifically on granting exclusive powers). We cannot have a Final Peace Agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front that will eventually be struck down by the Supreme Court simply because of its unconstitutionality.
State of the Nation Address: We have to admit, PNoy is doing his best in institutionalising reforms in our political (structural) and economic conditions. He may not be the perfect. He may not be able to eradicate all the evils of graft and corruption embedded within our administrative system. But very few of us know and understand the bureaucratic system of our government. Most of us complain a lot, but seldom do we provide our share or our responsibility to make the system work and make our government work.
Attacks on Gaza: Reports on the web states that there are almost 1,000 casualties in Gaza today. The 19-day war of Israel and Gazan’s Hamas will forever haunt us of the lack of humanity of all these so called “super powers”, members of the United Nations Security Council, or even with the NATO. Innocent civilians (mostly children) were victims of the bombings of Israel. We just have to ask ourselves, what right does anyone has to do such criminalities? It is not a war between two states. The Palestinians do not have the “Iron Dome” interceptor to shot down any missile attacks of the Israel in Gaza. I guess not yet, but eventually, I believe if Israel will continue this atrocities, then Palestinians will become stronger each day. They cannot wipe out a whole race.It is the same thing was what the Nazi’s has done in the past. They were not able to wipe out the whole population of the Jews in Europe. Karma will find its way to give justice to all the innocent victims of Israel. The Muslims in Gaza celebrated Eid Fitr as another day of war and another day of grief.
ISIS does not represent Islam and the Muslims: I categorically classify ISIS as an Anti-Islam extremists that also claim to act in Islam’s name. This organisation is nothing but a bunch of terrorists and barbarians who does not respect Islam or any religion in the world. Their demand of requiring Christians in Iraq to convert in Islam is a clear violation of the Holy Quran and the Hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). They are destroying Islam and the Muslims. There is no Muslim in this world that hurts or kills any innocent Christian or Jew. Our Holy Quran requires as to protect human beings irregardless of their religion. The Holy Quran, under Chapter 22:41, specifically commands us to protect Churches from destruction. ISIS must be brought to justice for their crimes against Muslims, Christians, and all humanity.
These four points of reflection gave me more strength in doing my work on inter religious and intra religious dialogue. They give me focus of realising that mankind are vicegerent of this planet. Allah (SWT) has entrusted us to give justice to all mankind and to be compassionate to all of His creations. Time and again, I always remind myself that our appreciation of truth of His existence and blessings to us is something very personal. We cannot force others to believe of our own version of truth. Because even in the Holy Quran, we are reminded that there is no compulsion of religion.