Peace coun­cil seeks sub­sidy for ulama in anti-ter­ror drive

Manila Bulletin - - Mindanao News - By ALI G. MACABALANG

BULUAN, Maguin­danao – Au­thor­i­ties in this prov­ince are seek­ing full govern­ment sub­sidy for ulama (Is­lamic schol­ars and imams) in an un­prece­dented bid to spur a com­pre­hen­sive cam­paign against ter­ror­ism-bound re­li­gious ex­trem­ism.

At the lat­est meet­ing here of the Pro­vin­cial Peace and Or­der Coun­cil (PPOC) on Septem­ber 13, civil­ian, po­lice and mil­i­tary of­fi­cials reached a con­sen­sus to or­ga­nize and sub­si­dize lo­cal and for­eigne­d­u­cated ulama in Maguin­danao as a pi­lot area for the in­no­va­tive ven­ture.

Maguin­danao PPOC chair­man and Gover­nor Es­mael Man­gu­da­datu, Brig. Gen. Ar­nel Dela Vega, head of the Army’s 6th In­fantry Di­vi­sion; Pro­vin­cial Po­lice Di­rec­tor Sr. Supt. Agustin Tello, and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of line agen­cies and pri­vate sec­tors agreed with the pro­posal raised at the meet­ing.

Us­taz Ishak Katam­bak, a young alim (sin­gu­lar for ulama), told the meet­ing that the pro­posal will be an an­ti­dote to the cur­rent de­pen­dence of some ulama on com­pen­sa­tions be­ing pro­vided by for­eign coun­tries where they ob­tained their Is­lamic ed­u­ca­tion.

Katam­bak be­lieved that this sit­u­a­tion has con­strained the ulama into preach­ing what­ever agenda their bene­fac­tors de­sire from them.

Many ulama from the Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion in Mus­lim Min­danao (ARMM) fin­ished stud­ies in Mid­dle East coun­tries where some sects pro­fess wa­hab­bism, an ortho­dox ide­ol­ogy that al­lows vi­o­lent mil­i­tancy in Is­lamic gov­er­nance.

“Is­lam lit­er­ally means peace… But some of us, es­pe­cially those com­pen­sated from abroad, are vul­ner­a­ble to adopt­ing ex­treme ide­ol­ogy that runs counter to the true essence of the re­li­gion,” Katam­bak said.

The Daesh or Is­lamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) pro­fesses vi­o­lent re­li­gious mil­i­tancy, which the Abu Sayyaf group in Basi­lan and Sulu, the Maute Group-led Dawlah Is­lamiya in Lanao del Sur, and the Bangsamoro Is­lamic Free­dom Fight­ers (BIFF) in Maguin­danao also ad­here to, ac­cord­ing to govern­ment au­thor­i­ties.

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