BAGUIO CITY: The Baguio-Benguet Sultanate Chief Sultan Bon Amin Torres said the Muslim community here is working with the residents to protect the city they consider their second home against criminality and terrorism.
Torres said, “:Our Muslim brothers who are in Baguio City fear that they might be suspected as terrorists because the Armed Forces is tracking down members of the ISIS or Abu Sayyaf but I told them that they should have no fear because they came here in peace not in war.”
He added they too are victims of the “wars” in Mindanao and they came here to have a peaceful life.
Torres said most of the Muslims in the city are traders and belong to religious groups. In fact, they have a school in Crystal Cave for young Muslims who want to study the Koran, he added.
Director Abdullah Macarimpas of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) stressed this in a forum recently with local government officials and the police. “We love Baguio, we are here to live and do business,” he said adding they want peace and harmony.
Themed “Muslims on Peace and Harmony,” the forum was organized to shed light on issues associating Muslims with drugs and terrorism and to stop people from emphatically condemning them as terrorists, said forum organizer Samsodin Monib.
Meanwhile, Mayor Maurico Domogan called on all Muslima to stop isolating themselves and instead actively participate in the affairs of the city.
“Whatever tribe you belong to or your religious affiliation, you are residents of the city. Each and everyone is treated the same. No special persons,’ Domogan said.
Based on a 2010 survey, about 4,000 Muslims are now living in Baguio City.