UMYO holds Islamic Conference on Anti-Radicalism Advocacy

The Union of Muslim Youth Organizations (UMYO), a Federation of Youth Organizations in Cotabato City and nearby municipalities in Maguindanao held an Islamic Conference on Anti-Radicalism Advocacy dubbed as, “The Lines” on November 30, 2016 at Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex, ORG Compound, Cotabato City.

The event was participated by the twenty (20) organizations that comprise the UMYO, as well as from the general public with a total of 338 female registrants and 149 male registrants. The audience mostly came from the Youth sector, professionals, etc.

“The Lines” aimed to understand the origin and deeper concepts of radicalism; to learn the comparative understanding of radical ideologies; to be aware and updated on the effects of the current progression of radical ideologies to the peace process; to learn the proper Islamic ruling about radicalism; and to redirect the public especially the Youth sector into the mainstream of peace building initiatives. The program generally exhibited the reality on what Islam is; it is a way of life which teaches Peace and does not tolerate any acts of terrorism.

In his welcome address, Mr. Andic Maninggula, representative from the Office of Bangsamoro Youth Affairs - ARMM, stressed that activity like “The Lines” is an effective venue for the youth to be enlightened and redirected to the mainstream of peace-building initiatives that will eventually save them and the society at large from engagement to radical extremism.” Accordingly, the youth must use their acquired knowledge to be the agents of change. He also added that “The youth must be true, fair, and just because that is the call of our time”.

Engr. Zubair A. Guiaman, UMYO Chairman, in his opening remarks expressed his heartfelt gratitude to all the participants. He explained the reason why the program was entitled “The Lines”. Accordingly, a Hadith says: "Ibn Mas’ud reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, drew a line with his hand and he said, “This is the straight path of Allah.” Then the Prophet drew lines to the right and left and he said, “These are other paths and there are no other paths but that a devil is upon it calling to its way.” Then the Prophet recited the verse, “Verily, this is the straight path, so follow it and do not follow other paths.” (6:153) (Musnad Ahmad 4423)

During the first session, “The Origin of Radicalism” was delivered by Ust. Nasrudin Musa from the Hay-atul Ulama of the Philippines. He said, “Radicalism is very critical in our present situation because it weakens Islam”. 

“Islam will not be destroyed as it is promised by Allah SWT, unless Islam is destroyed by itself.” He cited some situations during the time of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) so that we can learn and relate from it”, he added.

Ust. Abdulkahar Musa, representative from Jumeyyatul Huffaz bil Filibeen, delved on “Comparative Understanding of Radical Practices and Activities”. 

“If a man is knowledgeable enough on the teachings of Islam, he will see which is the right path”, he said, "Youth are the ones who will be firstly affected by these happenings (extremism and radicalism). This is because youth are like seedlings, too young and too vulnerable. And by this vulnerability they are easily affected by whatever influences their growth (environment)", Ust. Musa said in his presentation.

Updates and Effects of Radical Groups in the Peace Process were discussed by Ust. Abusaima Husain from MILF-CCCH.

Accordingly, “Present peace process is part of struggle. We must understand this”. He also said “Extremists affects the peace process because of their harmful and barbaric activities”. At last he advised, “We should tighten our will so that the tawfiq and hidayah (guidance) of Allah (SWT) be upon us."

The last speaker, Ust. Abdulrauf Guialani, a graduate of Madinahtul Monawara-Shari’ah, talked about “Ideas on Radicalism”. He cited some verses in the Qur-an, “If you’ll follow the command of Allah, you will always be in a right path”. On the other hand, if the people will not obey, they will be thrown to the hell. This is in accordance to Surah An-Nisa. Moreover, Soorah An-fal stated that if the people listen in the Quran, they belong in Mu’mins. Further, the Muslims should follow and act in accordance to the Qur’an.

After the sessions, Ust. Sabri Sarento, representing the former Sultan Kudarat Mayor Datu Ahmad “Tucao” Mastura, expressed his support to the youth and gave some advice. 

Dr. Danda A. Juanday – Cotabato City Administrator, also expressed his support to the youth and said, “We are in the crossroads. The young is the most resilient people in the Philippines. We need the ideology, values and organization to have the aqeedah to be matured and united”. 

With Mr. Juanday was the Chief of Staff of International Monitoring Team-M11, Capt. Jamaludin bin Haji Sairi. He said “Youth are important to peace building. You will play a crucial role in the formation of Bangsamoro entity”. He also emphasized that Islam is a religion of Peace and does not teach its followers any acts of brutalities, criminalities, and terrorism.

One of the highlights of the event was the signing of the pledge of commitment by the 20 organizations consisting the UMYO.

Part of the Pledge was: “We condemn the following practices, such as: deceptions in religion, radical ideologies, any illegal drug related engagements, corruptions and criminalities. This is manifested by the peace advocacies and peace conferences we have conducted for the past two years. Lastly, as a gesture of support, we cooperate whole-heartedly and hand-to-hand in the promotion of peace and support to any future peace efforts for the betterment of the society”.

The said Historic Signing of Pledge of Commitment was witnessed by the invited special guests representing the following agencies and organizations: OBYA-ARMM, LGU Cotabato City, LGU Sultan Kudarat, International Monitoring Team, MILF-CCCH, Tabun Halal Multi-Purpose Cooperative, and 99.0 Voice FM.