COTABATO CITY: The three-day Ulama Summit Against Terrorism has made a declaration that Islam is a religion of peace and should be used to counter terrorism and extremism as well.
Sheikh Abdulrahman “Abu Hurayra” Udasan, mufti (jurist) of the Darul-Ifta (House of Opinions) of the Bangsamoro, said “there should be a distinction between the normative teaching on Islam that is based on the glorious Qur’an and the cultural practices of the Muslims which may or may not be consistent with the normative teaching of Islam.”
Udasan pointed out that Islam means peace and this can automatically counter terrorism and extremism, because “peace in Islam is a key of association not isolation; it is a key of accommodation not marginalization.”
The summit that gathered around 300 Ulama (Islamic scholars) from across the country was an initial step of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to enlist the support of Islamic scholars to combat extremism and terrorism.
The Ulamas also underscored that reeducation is necessary to rediscover Islam, specifically its underlying principles of justice, compassion, peace, and harmony.
ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman said terrorists use inappropriate interpretations of Islamic principles to strengthen their cause and encourage the commission of vicious acts.
“We urge our Ulama that if we are on the right position, we should move to show what is right, and let’s condemn what is wrong,” Hataman said.
The Philippines ranked 12th among the countries heavily affected by terrorism in the 2016 Global Terrorism Index of the Institute for Economics and Peace, and the presence of the Abu Sayyaf Group and the Maute group in at least two of its provinces puts ARMM at the forefront of the fight against terrorism in the country.
Hataman said Muslim scholars can contribute to the advocacy against terrorism by educating people about the true teachings of Islam.
The national government considers terrorism as an urgent and critical national security threat.
The summit was also attended by local and regional government officials, the military and police, representatives from civil society organizations and members of the media.