Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Bangsamoro Muslims

Alsalam Alykum. I greet all my readers in Peace, in and outside the Philippine archipelago. Your humble writer seeks to dissect the problem that ails the Bangsamoro people in Mindanao--an island in the Philippines that has always been the center of war between the government and the Moro secessionist rebels belonging to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

I also appeal to my readers who are not from Mindanao, to open your heart and mind as I share my thoughts. It is my objective to present the truthful side of my fellow Muslims who have always been the victim of wrong judgment owing to distorted articles circulating all over the net.

Mindanao, one of the three major islands in the Philippines, is a war torn island whose inhabitants hunger for peace. It is an island the reminds the Filipino people how our Muslim forefathers fought hard to preserve their faith and culture. Annihilated by foreign invaders but the Muslims leaders in the past gave their life to ensure that Islam remains unadulterated by the forced assimilation of varied races composed of the Spanish and American colonizers.

Your humble writer will make no attempt to use sarcasm against those who write negatively against us, for that would be leveling my mind with subjectivism. It is my sincere intention to break the barrier of truth, of untold or deformed news about Muslims in my country to favor a western ideology and to gain support for anti-Muslim campaigns.

It is my sincere intention to reach out to all my readers and to make you understand that just like other religious groups, the Muslims in Mindanao desire earnestly NOT to be misunderstood and misjudged.


The haunt of defamatory words against the Muslims continue up to this day despite the fact that technology has already advanced itself in amazing discoveries yet the minds of those who look at Muslims as terrorists remain stagnant and boxed to their deterioration.

Some of those biased writers who have little knowledge of the truth could easily draw conclusions from unverified report and regard them as conclusive and therefore the standing reality about the entire Bangsamoro people.

It is grave injustice against Muslims in Mindanao to be branded as terrorists. It is not fair that every Muslim, including the unborn sons and daughters of Muslim couples, will have to suffer the social stigma attached with their characters just because there are sectors who think that Muslims are born to be militant.

NO true Muslim will support any terroristic acts for Islam is not a religion of war.

No true Muslim will embrace violence to offend any individual or sector for it was written in the holy Qur'an that the best form of Jihad is the "Conquering of the Soul" .

It is not surprising that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will always open its door to talk peace and negotiate with the government, not only to serve the purpose of the organization but to be worthy in the eyes of the Almighty Allah.

The war in Mindanao is the result of a long history of political and economic neglect. Political injustice breeds war and the cycle will continue from generation to generation.

Why must we accept the maligning of our character and reputation as Muslims? We are pained by such myopia committed by people who are considered intellectuals, yet they are too unprofessional to discern that they deliver unfair reportage arising from unverified reports.

Knowing and having practiced the tenets of journalism to the book as an editor-publisher of a community newspaper for almost seven years, your humble writer has steadfastly refrained from delivering "discriminatory news" especially on the aspect of religion. Exercising professionalism and respect for other people's ideology and religion, my paper called for Peace--the much desired condition in my war torn province.


This writer does not deny that bad and good Muslims inevitably operate in one mainstream but it does not follow that they meet sans collision. The good Muslims will always oppose the bad Muslims for they destroy the peaceful image of Islam that the majority of true Muslims protect.

No true Muslim will support a bad Muslim who enjoys the abuse of power.


I assert that Muslims are not born terrorists. This is a worldwide myopia for even the educated ones allow themselves to be victimized by this misconception. Do not be a victim of a deliberate campaign made by powerful western countries to destroy Islam as a religion.

While it is true that there are Muslim fundamentalists who subscribe to the idea of sowing violence against the innocent ones, it does not follow that all Muslims think the way they do. Is it right then that all Muslims be classified as one?

In application, if one family member is a thief, does it follow that everyone is a thief. Another analogy:If all presidents of the United States were anti-Muslims, does it follow that all succeeding presidents will be toward this stance?

I would say no, for an opposite answer will prove that we subscribe to an unfair generalization of facts. A general statement is a product of a subjective mind.

The terrorism of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) is not the terrorism of the entire Bangsamoro Muslims. If the Muslim Filipinos rebelled against the government, their reasons point to the much celebrated case of the Jabidah Massacre.

The Filipino Muslims, then and now, stood up for their cause, and that is to fight for justice in their homeland. But like all the rest of the people of the world, we too are clamoring for peace. Peace in the heart and soul are our rights.

Like you, Filipino Muslims hate terrorism and all forms of violence done not only against our race and religion but also those outside ours. We hate unfairness and injustice. We hate war.

Therefore, I would redundantly assert that the war in Mindanao is the consequence of political and social injustice. If Muslims were treated fairly, there will be no war to talk about.

The Philippine history authored by writers of moral fortitude is the best reference to understand the complexities existing in the stalled peace talks between the government and the Moro rebels. Please do not use other references that will only inject confusion into your mind to ensure that you will objectively understand the why's and what's of the Mindanao war.


This leads me to ask this question why such negative mentality against the Muslims persist in the minds of the many despite the fact that there are ways to confirm the veracity of unfair reports against us.

Why would intelligent minds welcome such apparent prejudice and bias without knowing the whole truth beforehand? Why?

Defending the good Muslims is my responsibility as a writer. Hiding the truth would imply an admittance of guilt and acceptance of falsity. To tolerate wrong perception would result to the destruction of the character of the Moro people.

As a writer,however, I must take it upon myself to clarify the truth to avoid the continuance of a "hate culture" directed against all Muslims all over the world, which does not single out the bad ones, for even the good ones are prejudged unfairly. Allowing such culture of hate will only add pain to the wounds caused by history.

I am a Muslim who loves freedom and will help in the institutionalization of peace in whatever small way I can. I am just like you who is inspired by the love of my family and who will always rise up for the truth to bridge the gap between us and the non-Muslim community and to establish fairness and justice at all times.


Mel Avila Alarilla said...

I commiserate with the plight of the Muslims in the Philippines. Although there is an undeclared war in Mindanao, relations between Muslims and Christians are not that irreconcilable. There are many Muslim communities in Metro Manila and they have learned to peacefully coexist with their Christian brothers. I had the distinct privilege of knowing and talking to some Muslims and I found then to be thoroughly honest and God fearing. I think the conflict in Mindanao is born of poverty and the neglect of the national government and abuses of some local leaders. There is still hope for peace, reconciliation and peaceful co-existence between Muslims and Christians. We must first be united as one nation to realize our shared dreams of a better tomorrow. Thanks for the thorough post. God bless you always.

Bai Maleiha B.Candao said...

Thank you Mel for such an enlightened view...a kind of refreshing outlook that we all need to co-exist in this complicated world.

Complications in Mindanao brought about by history of neglect arising from wrong leadership from all perspective must be addressed with understanding, requiring a lot of study and information.

My share is only a small part of the entire revelation. My purpose is for peace and interfaith coexistence.

God bless you too, Mel. :)

Aihara Ramintessah Sanchez said...

If a person commits a crime or mistake, he should not be branded by his religion or nationality. I am sorry to hear that many failed to understand the logic of human character and justice. And I am sorry for those people who jump to conclusions without sensible rationale.Thank you for another sensible post. I salute your open mindedness.

Bai Maleiha B.Candao said...

I agree with your very objective comment dear Tessah. :)

John B.M. said...

I have so much admiration for Muslims who advocates peace and harmony in this country. I am not a Muslim but I believe that true Muslims are the peace loving and God fearing ones. Same us in us, true Christians should also advocate peace so that we can make this world a better place. I really don't believe theres a big difference or gap between Muslims and Christians after all I believe we were all created by the same God.All we really need is respect in each other's religion. I just dont know why our differences becomes so complicated to others and peace is so difficult to be achieved. When the only things need are the basics...Love, Respect and Freedom

Bai Maleiha B.Candao said...

Thanks for your kind words, John. I appreciate your dropping by to view my blog and comment on this article. Writing about my sentiments will show how I feel as a Muslim. Although at times I feel sad, people like you with objective view make me smile. God bless. :)

Harry Seenthings said...

was here for blogwalking and i hope u can visiting me to, can i make a friends with u, care bout link xchange sister

Bai Maleiha B.Candao said...

Thanks for dropping by. I will visit your blog anytime. :)

Raymond Teodo a.k.a. was_bedeutet_jemanden said...

Gee, where do I begin? LOL! I guess I should start by stating that I agree with Bai's view on the matter whole-heartedly. I cannot say that I have a perfect knowledge of what exactly is going on in Mindanao - such information has been kept from the mainstream media in my country. But what I do know is that it is true what Bai has written - that NO TRUE MUSLIM would ever support terrorism. Islam is indeed a religion of peace, and anyone who has picked up a copy of the Q'uran to read for themselves would clearly see that violence is not what is being preached in it.

I feel I should also point out that the"bad" Muslims, (as Bai accurately describes them) do not only persecute those who are outside of their faith - they persecute the "good" Muslims as well. I have lived in Switzerland for two years of my life, and during those two years I have gotten to know many Muslim refugees who have escaped from places like Afghanistan and Iraq, because they were being persecuted and even killed by the "bad" Muslims for not thinking the same way as them. The "bad" Muslims have corrupted and twisted the doctrines contained in the Q'uran to suit their own purposes and try to justify their crimes towards humanity. They have taken these false teachings and have preached them as gospel. Because the "good" Muslims have made a stand against this abuse of the true teachings of Islam, and have struggled to promote to the world the true teachings and practices of Islam, they have also become targets of the "bad" Muslims who wish to enforce their corrupted opinions on them.

Think of the situation these Muslim refugees are in. They have fled from a country, from a people who have hated and persecuted them. They arrive in a new-found country, in order to escape this hatred and persecution, only to find more of it heaped upon them by those who have not stopped to look at the bigger picture, who have only listened to one side of the story, whose prejudiced opinions are based on hear-say and what the media of that country tells them.

I admire people like Bai who fight to bring the truth to light. She does not fight back the false accusations against her religion by use of a gun, but by use her words, which contain a more powerful message than any gun would bring.

There is more that I wish to say on this subject, but the words aren't formulating properly in my head right now. I intend on re-visiting this article and adding more to the subject once I have my thoughts together...


Thank you for that smart and long post, Ray. I am very glad that a non-Muslim friend like you has the sincere heart to reach out to the Muslims all over the world, and for caring to understand the truth about the struggles of the Muslims in Mindanao, in the southern part of the Philippines.

ISLAM IS NOT A MILITANT FAITH. (I wish you could check this link for my further explanation. I want to thank a fellow facebook user, Usman Abdul Rehman, for giving light on this matter.)

Let me just add to the fact that Muslims are not divided by faith but by practice and submission to the wrong interpretation of the Holy Qur'an.

The point of my article is that PEACE is the only solution to the conflict in Mindanao and that the international community can help by spreading the truth.

Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts, Ray. God bless!:-)