In­spire, con­nect, em­power

Sun.Star Davao - - OPINION - DATU MUS­SOLINI LIDASAN msl­i­[email protected] (Wel­come Ad­dress: #MSum­mit #MPower First Na­tional Moro Youth Con­fer­ence, Fin­ster Au­di­to­rium, ADDU, Novem­ber 30, 2018.)

Iwant to share three things with the youth to­day. I know a lot of you are from com­mu­ni­ties that are not as ex­posed in the na­tional me­dia. It is easy to feel that you have been for­got­ten, and right­fully so. There is so much di­vide even be­tween us -- whether it is re­li­gious, cul­tural, or gen­er­a­tional, that it may seem im­pos­si­ble to bridge.

We have not for­got­ten you. We re­mem­ber, and be­cause we re­mem­ber, we are work­ing to en­sure that peace in all forms, peace in all sec­tors, peace in our hearts -- is achieved.

The Al Qalam In­sti­tute was formed be­cause there was a grow­ing Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion here in the Ate­neo de Davao. They felt like they had no safe space to turn to. Where would they pray? Where would they hear kut­bah? Where do we per­form ablu­tion?

Yes, Ate­neo de Davao Univer­sity is a Filipino, Catholic, and Je­suit univer­sity. How­ever, we share one com­mon uni­fy­ing fac­tor: With our com­mon Ate­nean iden­tity, as men and women for oth­ers, it chal­lenges us to look at each per­son’s cul­tural and re­li­gious back­ground.

The re­al­ity is, there are Mus­lim stu­dents en­rolled in the Univer­sity. Their needs – be it phys­i­cal, men­tal, or spir­i­tual – are just as im­por­tant as those who are Catholic or of any other religion. They need a space where they can freely prac­tice their religion, in­side their own school.

We heeded the call to give a voice to all Moros, es­pe­cially the youth, not just in Ate­neo but in the greater ummah of the coun­try.

For the MSum­mit, we wish to see three things: In­spire, con­nect, and em­power.

We wish to in­spire the youth, to up­lift them and to give them a na­tional plat­form. We wish to con­nect Moro youth from all over the coun­try, in or­der to strengthen our ties to each other in a way that has not been done be­fore. Fi­nally, we are here to em­power; to give a voice a to the voice­less, to give light to a place where it was once dark.

In clos­ing, hav­ing the fear of the un­known is a “nor­mal” na­ture of hu­mankind. They fear some­thing that they can­not com­pre­hend. They fear the youth when they be­come bet­ter and wiser than them. We should not hate them for hav­ing that fear.

We should en­gage them fur­ther, through di­a­logues and fo­rums of un­der­stand­ing. We should love them for who and what they are. It will take one day at time, one step

at a time. In time, we can and should lib­er­ate them of those fears. We must lib­er­ate them, in or­der to have a crit­i­cal mind and be­come bet­ter Mus­lims.

That, through this event, is what we do and what we aim to ac­com­plish. We should never get tired of do­ing what we be­lieve can help our peo­ple. Ameen Ameen Ameen ... may Al­lah (SWT) ac­cept our prayers and con­tin­u­ously guide our peo­ple.

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