Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Local Muslim clergymen ask for sobriety

COTABATO CITY, Philippines -- Muslim religious leaders here renewed their call against terrorism on Tuesday and asked Filipino Muslims not to be carried away by emotions even as their religion came under attack from a far-Right member of parliament in The Netherlands.

Ustadz Esmael Ebrahim, spokesperson of the Assembly of Dharul Ifta of the Philippines, said the country's muftis (Guardians of the House of Opinions), renewed the call in light of an anti-Islam film produced by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders that has provoked anger among Muslims worldwide.

The 17-minute film Fitna, posted widely on the Internet, links pictures of terrorist attacks with verses from the Koran.

Ebrahim said the muftis are urging Muslims not to be driven to commit violence by people who claim to be sympathetic to them.

Last year, the muftis issued a similar call and even came up with a book titled, "Selected khutba" (mosque sermons), in which they declared terrorism as "haram" (unlawful and forbidden).

"Muslims should also distance themselves from people who use Islam for the advancement of their sinister agenda," Ebrahim said.

He said Muslims observe that terrorists have twisted verses in the Koran to support their cause.

Among the most twisted surah or chapter of the Koran, the cleric said, is Al-Anfal (The Spoils of War). The chapter deals mainly with the Battle of Badar, in which Allah showed the Prophet Muhammad's army how to deal with the armored knights of Abu Jah'l.

It reads: "You shall prepare for them all the power you can muster, and all the equipment you can mobilize, that you may frighten the enemies of God, your enemies, as well as others who are not known to you; God knows them. Whatever you spend in the cause of God will be repaid to you generously, without the least injustice" (8:60).

Moderate Muslim scholars say this chapter is often twisted to read, "Prepare to destroy them with all force. Terrorize Allah's enemy and your enemy," to instigate terrorist attacks.

Ustadz Muhammad Sulaiman, another noted Muslim scholar, said it was reported to him that during a recent rally protesting the portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist in a Copenhagen newspaper’s editorial cartoon, a prominent male personality was seen inciting anger among young Muslims.

The Muhammad cartoon stirred outrage among Muslims.

But Sulaiman said this should not be the case because the cartoon image could not be deemed suggestive of the prophet's personality.

"The more you get angry, the more you tend to accept that the caricature truly depicts a prophet that is violent, and the more the issue becomes bigger and bigger," Sulaiman said.

The two religious leaders said that instead of resorting to violence, which is deplorable, Muslims can "argue rationally against these attacks on Islam."

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