Batanes to Tawi-Tawi
Julmunir I. Jannaral
The faith of a Balik-Islam in his Islamic Faith is admirable who endured the great pain rather than to partake Haram like the roasted pig or “Lechon Baboy.”
This in the case of what happened to Dominick Alegro, a Balik-Islam who preferred to endure the great pain in the hands of his employer Anthony “Watanabe” Vecino of Lipa City Batangas.
Dominick works as a farm boy of a poultry farm owned by Watanabe in Lipa City. He asked the help of Ben Tulfo of the Pambansang Sumbungan of Tulfo’s Bitag TV program.
In his complaint, Dominick said Watanabe physically manhandled him when he refused to eat Lechon Baboy, which at that time was served by Watanabe to his guests at a party in his poultry farm. He told Tulfo how he was boxed by Watanabe where he sustained a black eye.
He told Watanabe that he cannot eat Lechon Baboy since it is Haram and being a Muslim it is forbidden in Islam and he is fearful of the wrath of Allah.
However, Watanabe did not listen to his explanation and even continue to physically manhandled him and even despised the existence of Allah. The arrogant Watanabe told Dominick that he should be afraid of him and not to Allah because he is also God.
Dominick said he even kneeled down in front of Watanabe pleading for his life. He said his fear was in the highest level when Watanabe got a Japanese Samurai and was about to strike him when his alert driver named Obi came to his rescue and stopped Watanabe from inflicting bodily harm further on him.
Due to the Complaint of Dominick, TV host Ben Tulfo referred the case to the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), after Barangay Chairman Boy Mendoza of Barangay Plaridel in Lipa City did not even lift a finger to help the victim after he reported the incident to the said barangay.
When Ben Tulfo coordinated with NCMF, it was Commissioner Yusoph Mando who told Tulfo that the NCMF is willing to assist the victim and to give him justice through the NCMF Legal Division.
A series of negotiations went through between the victim and the suspect. Watanabe only sent his representatives to NCMF since apparently he feared of the wrath of Muslim Ummah after many Muslim brothers learned of what happened to Dominick who is their Muslim brother. An unconfirmed sources said that many Muslims in Metro Manila even wanted to give instant justice to Dominick by applying the “eye for an eye or tooth for a tooth justice system” after Watanabe not only maligned a Muslim but the Islamic faith as a whole.
Fast forward on the case, it was learned that the suspect Watanabe now wanted to settle with the victim amicably by giving financial damages in the amount of P300K where victim Dominick Alegro just like his surname is ready for an amicable settlement and if we are going to prepare a News Item, it will run this way, “Balik-Islam Alegro willing to accept amicable settlement by accepting the Areglo of P300K.”
In the earlier interview with Ben Tulfo, Dominick Alegro said he wants to pursue the case against Watanabe. But he changed his mind and instead willing already to accept financial settlement. He said it would be a hassle for him to go to Lipa City and attend court hearing if he would continue the case against Watanabe.
This was confirmed by NCMF Commissioner Yusoph Mando to Batanes To Tawi-Tawi but he said the amount of financial settlement is not yet sure as to how much.
As this developed, Commissioner Yusoph issued his official statement addressed to non-Muslims who tend to malign Muslims and Islam.
Commissioner Yusoph said despite the fact that there are so many Muslims in this world, in our country there is still a lack of understanding about Muslim people and Islam.
In addition, the increase in anti-Muslim rhetoric and the unfortunate conflation of terrorism with Muslim people contribute to biased attitudes and reinforces stereotypes.
As a result, Islamophobia—the fear, hatred and discrimination of Muslim—is manifesting itself in personal biases, rhetoric, education, politics, hate crimes and more.
Non-Muslims who maligned Muslims and Islam tend to equate Islam as a violent religion and Muslims are identified with terrorism. Little did they know that within every religion, there exists a spectrum of attitudes and behavior and extremism is not unique to one particular belief system.
There are people who sincerely view themselves as Muslims who have committed horrible acts in the name of Islam. These people, and their interpretation of Islam, is rightly called “extremist;” they are a minority within Islam and the vast majority of Muslims reject their violence and consider their interpretation a distortion of the Muslim faith, according to Commissioner Yusoph.
He said and I quote: “Extremism is not unique to Islam. Muslim populations all over the world overwhelmingly expressed negative views of terrorism. It is important to keep in mind that Islam, like other religions, includes a large pool of opinions and different ways to understand the traditional holy text that was written in a different era.”
He added “Terrorists use radical interpretations of Islam then apply these interpretations to contemporary times.
There is also a perception—even among many Muslims—that Muslim groups and leaders do not sufficiently denounce acts of terrorism. Muslims said their own religious leaders have not done enough to speak out against terrorism and extremists.“
However, it is useful to note that there are many Muslim heads of state, politicians, organizational leaders and individuals who regularly condemn these acts. Further, thousands of Muslim clerics worldwide passed a “fatwa” (i.e. Islamic legal opinion) against terrorist organizations such as ISIS, the Taliban and al-Qaeda and requested that these terrorist groups not be branded as “Muslim organizations.”
It is important to remember that terrorist attacks have been committed by extremists who have adhered to a wide range of ideological beliefs including the Ku Klux Klan, white supremacy, anti-government, Islamic extremism and others.
No one ideology is responsible for terrorism.
It is therefore a duty of every Muslims to teach about stereotypes, bias and discrimination in all forms, including religious bigotry.
PostScript: On December 6, 2020, it will be the 175th Anniversary of our Fraternity, the Alpha Sigma Phi on December 6, 1845 that was founded at Yale University, New Haven, Connicticut, USA.
I served as the National Vice President for Luzon in 1978; together with Brother James Arias, the National VP for the Visayas; and Brother Ding Kalon, the National VP for Mindanao. In those days there were 3 National VPs and Only 1 National President Brother Prof. Zaide Lomondot of MSU, Marawi City.
But the Alpha Sigs has now improved a lot. While in our time there were 3 National VPs, Today the Alpha Sigma Phi has 2 National Presidents.
I have so many Brothers and Sisters throughout the Philippines. If I am going to greet them this will occupy even 1 Page of Philippine Muslim Today. Hence, with my Apology I would just like to greet Brother Wendel E. Avisado, Secretary of the Department of the Budget and Management; Brother Asisstant Secretary Mike Moslem of Malacanang; and Brother Hadji Abdurahman Pattaalam of Alpha Sigma Phi Zamboanga City Alumni Association.
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