Photo courtesy of Ust. Abdulaziz Faisal Lasad

Socsksargen Ulama to form umbrella organization of Islamic scholars

More than fifty Ulama from South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City (Socsksargen) agreed to form their umbrella organization, body of individuals who are experts on Islamic law, that will serve as guide in the economic, religious and socio-cultural affairs of Muslims in the region.

The move was made by the participants of the Ulama Consultation on April 30, 2019 who realized that there is need for them to take action to address various issues and concerns affecting the Muslim communities.

Through a workshop, the Muslim scholars identified those concerns as tribalism, disunity, strong influence of western culture, Riba (usury), poverty and violent extremism.

In the same workshop, the actions they identified that they should do included collaboration with various stakeholders to intensify Islamization drive, participation in Halal industry development, reaching out remote Muslim communities, and engagement in development projects implementation.

They also noted the need for the Muslim communities to support the operations of the Madaris centers all over the region which is crucial in providing the Muslim youth with balance education.

The Ulama noted the strong need for coordination among themselves in their missionary works considering that they are divided by from where they obtain their degrees in Islamic education from foreign countries.

Photo courtesy of Aic Ha EL

They also see the need for them to be equipped with skills in using electronic gadgets and the internet considering that the Muslim youth today can be easily be reached through social media.

The Muslim scholars also expressed their worries in the emergence of radical groups that foster violent extremism to advance their cause in the name of Islam.

The Ulama consultation was sponsored by The Asia Foundation through the Maguindanaon Development Foundation Inc. in collaboration with Mindanao State University-Gensan, and the local government units of Sarangani Province and General Santos City.

The activity was part of the Peace Connect Project implemented by MDFI in the region with the  primary objective that is to increase trust and understanding between religious community leaders, youth across religious communities in Mindanao and effective engagement in promoting inter-group harmony.

Professor Moner Bajunaid, a renowned Muslim scholar in the country and Secretary General of the National Ulama Cooperation of the Philippines, facilitated the consultation.

Atty. Guialil Kanda, Field Director of National Commission on Muslim Filipinos in Socsargen, and Assistant Regional Director Datu Tungko Saicol of DENR Region XII graced the event.