By Abdul Hannan
Top Muslims leaders have expressed strongly worded and outrage reactions against ABS-CBN news item on possible involvement of Islamic schools “Madrasah” in terror activities quoting the new designated Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief, Gen. Gilbert Gapay.
Some other group asked the official to retrieve or issue public apology, which is difficult option for a top official in the country’s defense department.
Last Tuesday, Gen. Gapay was quoted saying that AFP is looking into the possible involvement of some Madrasah, or Islamic schools in the country in the radicalization and alleged recruitment or suicide bombers.
He said during a virtual briefing, his group is monitoring Madares and other schools in Sulu in the pretext of suspicion of radicalization activities and recruitment.
In my Radio program this week, I suggested that we analyze the incident from various angles including the media that broke such appealing news item especially when we talk about ABS-CBN current status that needs provocative story for some propaganda gain.
It was indeed heavyweight media gain for its survival while blame goes to the President Rodrigo R. Duterte appointee official.
The great miscalculation from the part of Gen. Gabay was the fact that the president victory in the 2016 election was because of his vocal calls for the correction of the “historical injustices” committed against Filipino Muslims or Bangsamoro and he did it by providing political solutions to the century conflict. The administration policy towards Muslim communities was very clear.
The official, while trying to show his strong grief apparently did not seek any advice from his fellow predecessors or at least asked his Muslim top aides in uniform for the same.
Most of the reactions were very strong and convincing in all aspects indicating that such accusation against islamic institutions will only devide the nation further. The country has to move on and compete its neighbouring Asian countries for development and wellbeing of its people regardless of their faith affiliation.
On the part of labor and foreign relations, we must learn from other countries how did they benefited from their Arabic-speaking national.
China, Japan and Russia for instance send Arabists diplomat to the oil-rich countries in the Middle East including head of the mission and ambassadors. They were very effective diplomats in gaining mutual and beneficial cooperation and various interests.
In Thailand they employ their national with Arabic background in hospitality to serve tourists from the Arab world.
We need to be open minded in empowering and make use of our graduates from these schools for the benefit of our trade and economic growth by utilising them to deal with Arab investors. That’s could make Philippines a diversified and friendly destination for both business, tourism and medical treatment. (AHMT)