Ulama on BBL passage: It will lay down the foundation to neutralize violent extremism

Ulama (Islamic scholars) urged the lawmakers to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in their conviction that the measure “will lay down the foundation to neutralize violent extremism.”

In a statement issued during a forum, the Religious Leaders call on the Philippine Congress to pass the BBL that is compliant with the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), a peace deal signed by the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front that seeks to create a meaningful autonomous political entity for the Bangsamoro people.

More than twenty Ulama from Central and Southern Mindanao participated in the “Workshop/Consultative Forum: The Role of the Muslim Religious Leaders in Peace and Security” held in Cotabato City on January 1 to share their inputs and recommendations to address peace and security issues besetting the Bangsamoro people.

They noted that the emerging violent extremism in the world today is quite alarming and that there is a big possibility that they can attract local sympathizers particularly those who are disappointed with the non-passage of the BBL.

 “We believe that that proposed law that will create the ideal Bangsamoro autonomous region will lay down the foundation to neutralize violent extremism,” the Ulama stressed.
They also condemned those behind the unjust killing of innocent civilians in Paris, Istanbul and Jakarta by radical groups.

The Muslim religious leaders call on National Government, particularly the Senate and Congress, “to help us bring just and lasting peace by legislating genuine autonomy that has been promised by the Philippine Constitution.”

They also believe that the desired Bangsamoro government will bring reconciliation, justice and address poverty. With peace in place, the Ulama said many stakeholders will be enticed to help the Bangsamoro develop.

“A genuine autonomy can be realized if the terms of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro are retained in the BBL,” the Ulama stressed.

They also called on the Muslims in the country to refrain from joining group that espouses unjust killings or terrorism to achieve their objectives.

Aside from the non-passage of BBL, proliferation of drugs, clan feuds, and drug-related crimes are other important concerns discussed during the forum.

The Ulama committed to intensify their efforts in campaigning against crime and promoting in peace in weekly Khutbah (sermon), radio program, lectures and other initiatives.

The Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy, Institute for Autonomy and Governance, Local Government Development Foundation, and Zabida organized the event with the support of Pro Politics Pro Peace and Australian Aid.

PCID President Amina Rasul-Bernardo cited the significant role of the Ulama in propagating peace in their communities having the respect of their constituencies. A study showed that the Muslims in the country have higher respect to the Ulama compared to the local officials.

Rasul-Bernardo urged the religious leaders to be wary of the issues affecting the Bangsamoro people and take part in whatever undertakings with other stakeholders that will help resolve those concerns.