The Stabilization Network holds Mindanao FGD on Women Against Violent Extremism

Marawi City– “Women give Pivotal Role in Development, and that they are the very foundation of Society,” Dr. Moctar Matuan, former Director of the MSU-Institute for Peace and Development said during the Mindanao Focus Group Discussion (FGD) on Women Against Violent Extremism held on November 3 at the Social Hall, Provincial Capitol Complex, Marawi City.

The FGD was a kick-off activity of The Stabilization Network (TSN) in partnership with local partners in Lanao areas. It was the first time people on the ground were invited in a Focus Group Discussion to give their insights on violent extremism. The activity was participated by key women leaders from various communities to share their insights on their roles based on their context and background. The FGD was designed according to the objectives that were identified by the Lanao partners.

Bae Adelaida Ditucalan, Convenor of United Mothers for Marawi Inc. gave the welcome remarks and highlighted why the event on WAVE is deemed necessary.

The objectives of the activity were, to clearly identify the push and pull factors of violent extremism: to determine the role of women in Preventing Violent Extremism both in their homes and in their communities and as well as beyond their communities; to identify three (3) doable and tangible programs and activities that can be done across Lanao del Sur and can be implemented on a 12-month period; and to get the commitment of the women leaders and their counterparts in countering Violent extremism. 

The organizer opened an opportunity to the participants to discuss among themselves what their thoughts were, which highlighted the following: 

1. the participants answered that Violent Extremism are the radical views of some individuals and the result of a weak faith in the religion. 

2. the participants’ answers revolved around personal and family-related problems that are left unresolved, in the context of those in remote areas, they said that “money” pushes them to get involved in this radicalism and violence, political motivation and considering the lack of a better understanding of ISLAM as a Religion of Peace.

3. as mothers, it is really important to nurture the children while they are inside the homes; engage women in peace building and conflict resolution, allow the “taalim” or religious gathering of women to further enhance their understanding on the teachings and Hadiths of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W).

 4. that Islamic Seminars, seminar workshop on gender-based violence, livelihood support for women must be given consideration in order to empower them to become key players in providing support to their families and their children.

5. each of the participants wrote their commitment message and ensured that in their own capacity, they will be of help in the campaign against violent extremism in Lanao del Sur.

Prof. Alih Sakaluran Aiyub of Mindanao State University spoke on violent extremism, and narrated the evolution on how simple radicalization metamorphosed into violent extremism in the context of Middle East and how it spread in Southeast Asia. 

Responding to a question on violent extremism during the open forum, Prof. Aiyub said, "although there are some conspiracy theories that were presented during the 9/11 attack in the United States, however, let us discount the fact, and ask, why it is necessary for us to have a better understanding on the expediency of violent extremism