Muslim Youth Leaders conferred to redirect programs to Peace Building 

A total of 69 different youth leaders from 20 different Youth Organizations comprising the Union of Muslim Youth Organizations (UMYO) gathered and conferred for Muslim Youth Leaders Peace Conference at Nursalam Hall, Alnor Complex, Cotabato City last January 1, 2017. 

The program was also participated by youth leaders from Integrated Muslim Youth Federation (IMYF) of Davao City and Office of Bangsamoro Youth Affairs (OBYA) -ARMM. The activity was branded as "You Turn" with the theme: "Look back the Past, Know the Present, and Prepare for Future." 

This was a sequel event for UMYO's anti-radicalism advocacy which was initially dubbed as "The Lines" which was held last November 30, 2016 at Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex in the same City.

The conference was illuminated by three (3) guest speakers who led the discussions about proper dealings on radicalism, significance of learning the history, and appreciating the primacy of Peace Process in the societal development. 

This You Turn Peace Conference aimed to understand the current radical activities in the global arena and its implications that are suddenly evolved in our country especially in Mindanao. 

Furthermore, UMYO strives to redirect the focus of youth to the issues and concerns of Bangsamoro that is more vital for our own development in order to build more beneficial impact to other people without prejudices. 

It was highlighted in the program that Islam is a Mercy to all creations. It does not teach any acts of violence and brutality that cause destruction to others. There was also an emphasis given on the virtue of "The Success of One is Success of All, and Failure of One is Failure of All" which ignited the participants to strengthen their unity.

Discussion was started by representative from Jumeyyatul Huffaz bil Filibeen in the person of Sheikh Abdulkahar Musa who talked about definition, forms, origin, and proper dealings on Radicalism. 

He defined Radicalism as any act that is too much. Even though a person is intending it as a form of Ibadah (worship), it is still not good for him. He shared that during the time of the Prophet Muhammad S.A.W., he advised his companions not to be extreme (kill civilians, women, animals (except for eating purposes), destroy properties, etc.) to anyone even though they are in a battlefield. There is a need of moderating one's belief for him not to be destroyed by it.

The topic on "Why the History and the primacy of peace process in the Bangsamoro are vital for a sustainable development" was discussed by Hon. Mohagher Iqbal, Chairman of MILF Peace Implementing Panel. 

As he said, History is very important; there is no future for those people who don’t know their past. We should know the past to see the present and project what will happen in the future. The purpose of knowing the History is to understand the diversity e.g. cultural diversity and religious belief. 

The best way to find peace is to acknowledge that we all have differences, and this diversity should be taken as an opportunity to strengthen us in order to unite as one. Then he mentioned the verse from the Glorious Qur’an in Surah Al-Hujurat verse 13: “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted”.

He also stressed his advice to the youth that we should acknowledge and respect the different beliefs of other groups but we must believe that Islam is a religion of Peace and the success of the on-going peace process is the genuine solution for a just and lasting peace in the Bangsamoro. 

Strengthening of brotherhood is also an effective way to achieve our objective for peace. He also emphasized the urgency of educating the people with the true teachings of Islam and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. This will enable them to practice the proper Islamic way of life that will eventually bring about peace to the entire community.

He also encouraged the youth about developing the Bangsamoro area. Due to the results of war, it was marginalized. War as he said is the mother of all poverty; we cannot develop our areas in times of war that is why negotiation is the most civilized way of addressing the conflict this time. Armed struggle is only an option for self-preservation.

A closing message and du'a was delivered by Sheikh Salahuddin Lantong of Markaz Al-Imam Ibn Al-Jazarie Lil Qur’anil Karim. He highlighted the fact that radicalism or extremism can never be part of Islam because Islam is At-Tawassut (moderation). 

He also advised the youth not to easily label or judge people such as naming him as Kafir (disbeliever). Islam has its strict criteria with regards to this labelling and Allah is the only One Who has the right to judge His creations. Too much judging and criticizing can even destroy a person. 

At the last part of the program, another set of Pledge of Commitment were prepared for UMYO partner organizations and its officers respectively. These signed documents signify one’s commitment to take part in redirecting the focus of youth to help in the realization of the Bangsamoro struggle in order to attain its Right for Self-determination as a genuine means to help other people regardless of religion, race, social status, groups, and nations. These documents were signed by the heads and representatives of 20 Organizations and 20 UMYO Officers as witnessed and signed by the three resource persons.