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MILF assures religious freedom in Bangsamoro

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MANILA, Oct. 18, 2012— The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has assured respect for non-Muslims in the soon to be created Bangsamoro government that they can even ‘put up a piggery.’

Ghazali Jaafar, MILF vice chairman for political affairs, said that respect for those with other religions is guaranteed in the new political entity that will replace the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

He said that even political rights of Christians and other non-Muslim Bangsamoro constituents will be upheld and will remain protected.

As a matter of fact, according to him, even the rights of women are guaranteed in the framework agreement which lays down groundwork for the final and enduring peace in the country’s troubled south.

“This is a democratic government. Christians will be allowed to hold their church activities… or celebrate Christmas,” Jaafar said. “They will also be allowed to put up piggery… all these things.”

“The rights of every individual in the Bangsamoro government are protected. If the Muslims of the Bangsamoro can run for a political position, a non-Muslim can also run for political position,” he said.

Islam considers pig unclean because they are omnivorous, which means it can and will eat anything unlike cows and sheep for instance, which are herbivores.

Muslims do not eat pork of any type and consider pigs and their meat filthy and unhealthy to eat.

On Monday, chief negotiators of the government and the MILF signed the framework government in Malacañang.

The event was also witnessed by President Benigno Aquino III, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ibrahim and other partners.

Spirituality

Several Catholic bishops in Mindanao viewed the framework agreement with “vigilant optimism” and at the same time raised six “core values” that constitute a “people’s platform of peace” in Mindanao.

These include the value of “spirituality” which according to them is wherein Muslims, indigenous peoples, Christians and members of other faith traditions live together in “harmony and religious freedom”.

“The religious traditions of both Islam and Christianity as well as of indigenous people can bring about both internal and external peace.  Peace as spirituality and as religious tolerance can flow into society,” they said.

The prelates said that some of the concrete measures would be: to integrate peace and religious instruction in schools; to apply Islamic teachings in Muslim society; to promote interreligious and intercultural understanding; and to promote interfaith dialogue leading to forgiveness and reconciliation.

“There is also a call for more active participation of religious leaders on peace and good governance.  Ritual healings can provide definitive closure of conflict situations,” they added.

Other principles that the bishops want to be considered in the making of the final peace agreement are “sincerity, security, sensitivity, solidarity and sustainability.”

Two years is long enough

Aquino is set to issue an executive order creating the “Transition Commission” as soon as the government and the MILF negotiators finish the annexes of the recently approved framework agreement.

The president said that the agreement should be worked out as soon as possible for both parties to finally come up with the final peace accord.

And for Jaafar, two years of working on the agreement is long enough.

“We hope it will not take long because our people have been waiting for so long and probably many of them are expecting that the Bangsamoro government will be set up immediately,” he said.

“It must not be beyond two years and I think the Bangsamoro regional government must already be operating three years from now or before the expiration of the term of the president,” said Jaafar.

No more repeat of ARMM failure

Aquino earlier said that the ARMM was a “failed experiment” and the MILF assured that problems encountered before will not happen again under the Bangsamoro political entity.

“Out of this experience, it is but natural that we will not repeat this failure experience,” said Jaafar.

He added that at this time, they have already been successful in molding the kind of leadership envisioned by the late Hashim Salamat, MILF founder— “a righteous and God-fearing leadership.”

“When we have this kind of leadership, our people will never fail because we have the leaders who are accountable to God and they serve not just for themselves (but for all the people),” he said. [RL/CBCPNews]

 


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