COTABATO CITY (13 May 2017) – The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) have convened around 300 Ulama (Islamic scholars) from across the country for a three-day (12-14 May) summit that aims to explore the role of Muslim scholars and religious leaders in the fight against terrorism.
ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman said terrorists use inappropriate interpretations of Islamic principles to strengthen their cause and encourage the commission of vicious acts.
“We urge our Ulama that if we are on the right position, we should move to show what is right, and let’s condemn what is wrong,” he said.
The Philippines ranked 12th among the countries heavily affected by terrorism in the 2016 Global Terrorism Index of the Institute for Economics and Peace, and the presence of the Abu Sayyaf Group and the Maute group, the country’s leading terrorist groups, in at least two of its provinces brings the ARMM at the forefront of the fight against terrorism in the country.
The three-day “Ulama Summit Against Terrorism” is an initial step of the ARMM government to enlist the support of Islamic scholars to combat terrorism.
Hataman said Muslim scholars can contribute to the advocacy against terrorism by educating people about the true teachings of Islam most especially on the principles of justice, compassion, peace and harmony.
The national government considers terrorism as an urgent and critical national security threat.
Sheikh Abdulrahman “Abu Hurayra” Udasan, mufti of the Darul-Ifta Bangsamoro, said that “there should be a distinction between the normative teaching on Islam that is based on the glorious Qur’an and the cultural practices of the Muslims which may or may not be consistent with the normative teaching of Islam.”
He emphasized that Islam means peace “and this can automatically counter terrorism and extremism, because peace in Islam is a key of association not isolation; it is a key of accommodation not marginalization.”
Aside from the Ulama, the summit is also being attended by local and regional government officials, military and police officials, representatives from civil society organizations and the media.