September 21, 2017, 8:13 pm
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Fatwa against terror

ON the surface, the recent issuance of a fatwa by the Bangsamoro mufti, Shiek Abehuraira Abdulrahman Udasan, a religious leader aligned with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), should be a step in the right direction.

The shiek’s fatwa (a ruling on a point of Islamic law given by a recognized authority) declared unacceptable “the entry and spread of violent radicalism or extremism in any part of the Bangsamoro Homeland.”

In a reactive statement, MILF chairman Murad Ebrahim said his group endorses and supports such edict without fear and reservation.

Ebrahim stressed, “The fatwa also states that there is an urgent need to fight violent extremism or radicalism, in compliance with the injunction of the Qur’an and the Prophetic Tradition (al-Hadith).”

The government and the rest of Filipinos cannot help but feel happy for such an assurance of support in their fight against the marauding Mautes and Abu Sayyafs who attacked Marawi City in the name of their brand of Islam.

Now going into its 8th week, fighting in that Islamic city is no less intense, and continuous and everyday bombings and air strikes still fail to end the siege. Adding to the reprehensible acts committed by the terrorists are verified executions of hostages through beheading. The discovery of more bodies of victims of these killings has increased the body count of civilians in the religion-based conflict.

In the wake of the fatwa, the MILF urged its political and military wings to pursue the religious edict “vigorously to ensure that this violent extremism or radicalism shall not take root in any part of our communities, because it has no basis whatsoever in any of the teachings of Islam.”

There’s the rub.

Shiek Udasan and Murad Ebrahim, in supporting this fatwa, are inviting murderous rage among the followers of radical Islam. Their supporters have been ordered to follow the fatwa which sort of fans the fire of hate and intolerance deep in ISIS consciousness.

This development further widens the gap of the religious divide among Muslims, not just in Southern Philippines, but also in Indonesia, Pakistan, Malaysia and the rest of the region.

This is an invitation for more Marawis, and if these wars are to be fought in the Philippines, particularly Mindanao, the whole nation stands to suffer some more.

The reality is that for every Shiek Udasan fatwa, there will be another imam who will issue a counter-fatwa, citing the same Qur’an as moral and philosophical basis, and the violence will feed on itself.

As in any religion, the problem is not with the fundamentalists, but with the fundamentals of faith.
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