ZAMBOANGA CITY – Ulama or Muslim scholars from Zamboanga City, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi provinces are set to convene here for a two-day regional summit that aims at addressing the emergence of violent extremism and terrorism.
The event, which will begin on Friday at the Garden Orchid Hotel, is an offshoot of the Ulama Summit held in Cotabato City in May and initiated by the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the regional Darul Ifta, and Majlish-Shura. “Our aim here is to spread the true teachings of Islam. We are mobilizing the Ulama to counter the threat of violent extremism,” ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman said.
As early as 2015, the Darul Ifta of the ARMM declared that “terrorism and mischief cannot be accepted as synonyms for jihad, or one of struggle’s methods, because our religion commands us to be compassionate to all beings in the land.”
The Ulama have condemned the brazen attack of the Islamic State-inspired Maute, Abu Sayyaf and other jihadist groups in Marawi City.The fighting, which started days before the holy month of Ramadan on May 23, has been ongoing for more than five months now.
The objectives of the solidarity summit, according to Hataman, is to bring together the Ulama in the region for mutual consultation and for discussions on the pressing issue of violent extremism and terrorism as well as reach a consensus on how to protect the Muslim community in general and determine the Ulama’s role in countering and preventing violent extremism in the locality. Part of the two-day summit is for the Ulama to set guidelines to reach a common understanding on terminologies about Islam that would prevent misinterpretation.
The Ulama will also craft plans and approaches on how to deal with the issues of violent extremism, and develop ‘Risalatul Wasatan’, or to call moderation in teaching about Islam. The highlight of the summit is to clear the misconception on the negative labeling of Muslims in general.
Hataman said high-ranking officials from the national government – among them Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana – and local government leaders have been invited to discuss the issue of violent extremism in a collective manner. (Bureau of Public Information)
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