OIC urges Muslim-Filipino solidarity amidst non-passage of BBL
JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA – Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary General Iyad Ameed Madani has called on the Bangsamoro people to unite and remain committed to the peace process after Congress’ failure to enact the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which would have been vital in ending the Mindanao armed conflict.
“The Secretary General [of the OIC] urged the Bangsamoro people to unify, consolidate and converge together towards the advancement of the peace process and the final resolution of the conflict in Mindanao,” the OIC Secretary General said in a press statement issued after his meeting with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim.
While Madani "expressed his deep disappointment over the non-passage of the BBL which is a major step towards the final resolution of the Bangsamoro question," he "urged the leaders of the Bangsamoro people in particular, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) to utilize the existing mechanism, [the] Bangsamoro Coordinating Forum (BCF) to achieve a more unified position and a more coherent consolidated and sustainable cooperation for the benefit of the Bangsamoro people.”
Madani underscored that the firm commitment of the MILF to the peace process was important in preserving the gains of the peace negotiations and sustaining the ceasefire mechanisms to prevent future violent encounters between forces of the government and the Moro group. “[I]n spite of the great disappointment, the MILF would continue to uphold the peace process, and would continue to call on the Bangsamoro people to remain patient and to rally behind the full implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on [the] Bangsamoro (CAB).”
“The Secretary General also called upon the international community, particularly those involved in the peace process and those that witnessed the signing of the CAB, to urge the incoming administration to save this process and guarantee the passage of the BBL as originally agreed upon," the OIC further added.
The OIC also reiterated its support to the peace process and the full implementation of the peace agreements such as the CAB, the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB), the 1976 Tripoli Agreement and the 1996 Jakarta Agreement.
The intergovernmental organization also advised the Philippine government that the non-passage of the BBL may become a platform for Islamic extremists to instigate violence in the region. “A failure of peace process could adversely affect the good relation existing between the Philippines and the Muslim world,” they said.
GPH peace panel denounces attack on Islamic diplomats
Meanwhile, Government of the Philippines (GPH) peace panel chair Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer condemned the assassination attempt against Islamic preacher Sheikh Aaidh al-Qarni, and Saudi diplomat, Sheikh Turki Assaegh, who spoke at a university lecture in Zamboanga City last Tuesday.
“The assassination attempt against the Saudi cleric is an affront to the freedom of expression and assembly that we hold dear. The battle of ideas should be fought through words and force of vision and imagination, not through the barrel of the gun,” Ferrer said.
According to news reports, Al-Qarni and Assaegh were both wounded in the shooting incident as they were leaving the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) auditorium in the southern port city of Zamboanga.
Al-Qarni is a prominent Saudi Islamic preacher who is well-known for his self-help book La Tahzan (Don't Be Sad) which has sold over 2 million copies and was also praised as an ideal read for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
The assailant was identified as a 21-year-old WMSU senior engineering student, Rugasan Misuari III, who was killed on the spot by Al-Qarni's security entourage.
“We encourage everyone to be vigilant and to stand with us against the sinister designs of those forces that threaten the peace and democracy in our society,” Ferrer added.