From the Philippine News Agency (May 13): Military welcomes Muslim clerics’ action against terrorism
A top military official here welcomed the move of the Muslim clerics, particularly in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), for taking an active role in the fight against terrorism.
Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said there is a need for all the stakeholders to contain the spread of religious extremism and radicalism here in Mindanao.
“Security is a shared responsibility that needs sustainment of partnership between the different stakeholders, security sectors, the local government units, the academe, and religious sectors, and other stakeholders to defeat the threat of terrorism in Southern Philippines,” Galvez said.
Galvez was one of the resource persons in the three-day Ulama Summit, which started on Friday in Cotabato City.
Around 300 Ulama and Ustads from all over the country attended the event which was conceptualize after Daesh groups were monitored recruiting in the different areas of Mindanao especially among the youth.
“There is a need to unite all our efforts to win the war against Islamic extremism and terrorism in our region. We must condemn all terror actions of international and local terrorist groups,” Galvez said.
Alih Aiyub, secretary general of the Ulama Council of the Philippines, in a text message to the Philippines News Agency, said the Ulama should actively spread the correct teachings of Islam.
“When these terrorists are brave enough to do evil, we the Ulama are even braver to do good to prevent and counter corruption and terrorism in the land. This is our sacred duty as religious leaders,” Aiyub said, referring to the threat of terrorist groups against Ulama.
A radical group which calls itself as "Dawla Islamiya" issued a threat prior to the start of the summit, threatening Ulama who would attend the event.
“To those who have Ulama relatives, warn your parents, brothers and children not to attend the summit because if something happens to them along the way or in the end, don't tell us you were not warned,” the statement said.
Dawla Islamiya, roughly translates to “Islamic state,” is believed to have pledged allegiance to ISIS.
The group claimed that ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman has been using the Ulama for his personal agenda, and that the summit would result to Ulama branding members of the radical group as terrorists.
In a separate statement, Hataman noted that terrorism and security-related problems in the region had been hampering economic growth, and the support of religious leaders were pivotal to community-based initiatives towards sustainable development and against terrorism in the region.
He said that the economies of ARMM could only post less than one percent growth last year while that of the neighboring areas posted four to six percent growth. “This is because security threats pose limits in the region's economic expansion,” he added.
The Ulama Summit aims to chart a policy and action plan to overcome the issues of extremism and radicalism, Aiyub said.
The summit was initiated by the Office of the Regional Governor and the Regional Darul Ifta of the ARMM.