Issue of October 1, 2017
     
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2017
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Muslim imam vows no radical schools set up in Baguio City
by Ofelia C. Empian

NOT HARBORING TERRORIST -- Baguio City Police Office director, S/Supt. Ramil Saculles, meets with Muslim leaders and heads of schools run by Muslims to clear matters over information relayed to a city official that some of those involved in the Marawi crisis are graduates of Muslim-run schools in Baguio. The Muslims denied such claim and vowed to support the peace and order and anti-terror drive of the government. -- Harley Palangchao

A Muslim leader in Baguio has vouched for the integrity of Islamic schools in the city, saying they will be the first one to know if there is a school teaching extremism.

Imam Bedejim Abdullah of Discover Islam Baguio said although they do not have a formal oversight on all Islamic schools in Baguio, these schools recognize their authority as leaders.

“These schools, although they are independent, respect our position. They do not bar us from going to the schools. We can easily call and ask and verify things,” Abdullah said.

Hindi kami papayag na kung anu-ano ang itinuturo ng mga guro doon. So far wala namang incident na narinig kami na may isang teacher na nagtuturo ng bagay na salungat sa turo ng Islam,” he said.

There are at least five Islamic schools operating in Baguio.

In the report presented during the Cordillera Regional Peace and Order Council in Apayao in Sept. 7, there were accounts that some Muslim schools in the city are being used to indoctrinate Islamic students on extremism. The council did not release any name of school.

Abdullah acknowledged there are some groups that are deviating from the true teachings of Islam.

“Hindi alam ng tao kung mali ang turo o tama, kami ang nakakaalam noon. Kasi nga ang Islam ngayon, nakakalungkot mang isipin, may mga deviant teachings na,” he said.

The Muslim teacher said that Islam is a religion of peace and as leaders in their communities, they are striving to work with authorities to achieve peace in the localities.

“We teach in the school that Islam is peace and we don’t want anything to disturb that peace. It is in our interest that there will be peace kasi kung magkakaroon ng kaguluhan, usually ang pinagbibintangan Muslim at ang naaabala naman ay kami. Definitely it is our concern. But we have to (let accusations) be based on the truth, because we will act on it,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Muslim community in Ambiong, La Trinidad led by its president, SPO3 Lucman Paca, recently wrote to the local government unit of La Trinidad assuring them that they are “law abiding citizens” and that they have come to the province “for the purpose of business” to provide for their families.

“Furthermore, rest assured that the Madrasa located in our community is not affiliated with any local or international group whose aim is to spread havoc and that it is not or will not be a breeding ground for any unwanted and illegal activities and that they (morits/students) are solely taught of Qur-an memorization in good faith,” the letter reads.


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