Groups urge Moro religious leaders to take a stand on Maguindanao carnage

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Senior Reporter, the Pamalakaya Times

Manila, Philippines- Moro groups based in Mindanao on Thursday appealed to Moro religious leaders to take a stand on the recent Maguindanao carnage allegedly perpetrated by a powerful political warlord clan in Maguindanao.

In a press statement e-mailed to The Pamalakaya Times, the Suara Bangsamoro and the Kawangib Moro Human Rights said in light of the Muslim people’s observance of the Eid’l Adha, their groups appeal to the Ustadz, Imam and the Ulama to devote their sermons and prayer in calling for peace and justice and hope to reign in Maguindanao and the whole of Mindanao.

Ms. Amirah Ali Lidasan, national president of Suara Bangsamoro, without sounding disrespectful in the observance to one of the holy festival of the Muslim people, the Eid’l Adha , the group
implore on their religious leaders to take a stand on the massacre
incident in Maguindanao on November 23.

Lidasan lifts a quote from the Holy Qur’an as basis for this call and
says it is imperative for the religious leaders to take a stand in
defense of the people of Maguindanao and to preempt future violence to happen again in Maguindanao and the rest of the Moro areas:

Qur’an 4:75-76 Surah An-Nisaa (The Women)
And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who
being weak are ill-treated (and oppressed)? Men women and children
whose cry is: “Our Lord! rescue us from this town whose people are
oppressors; and raise for us from Thee one who will protect; and raise
for us from Thee one who will help!” Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah and those who reject faith fight in the cause of evil: so fight ye against the friends of Satan: feeble indeed is the cunning of Satan.

Lidasan stressed the Maguindanao massacre should gather the Moro people in a defining moment for the Moro people of Maguindanao and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao by publicly condemning the killings and not let political and familial affiliations hinder our
responsibility as Muslims to condemn this act.

Lidasan also said that it is the responsibility of the Muslim
religious leaders to put back in the hearts and minds of Muslim people
that there is nothing to fear but Allah alone, instead of helping
perpetuate the fear of politicians and warlord prevail in Maguindanao
and the ARMM.

Lidasan grieves with the families and friends of the victims and hopes
to reach out with the rest of the Filipino people in condemning this
dastardly act.

‘We hope that the Moro people’s outcry be also highlighted as part of
public’s outrage. We are in unity with the rest in calling for an end
to the culture of impunity to reign in Maguindanao,’ said Lidasan.

Lidasan said said the Maguindanao massacre should not be misconstrued a traditional rido and the public should not be led to believe that this is natural or merely part of Moro people’s tradition and culture.

Lidasan said that simplifying the massacre as mere ‘rido’ or
traditional clan war is glossing over the heinous crime committed by
the warlords – the killing of mustadafins (oppressed) such as the
women and the unarmed people who died in the incident – and
exonerating the perpetrators from their crime.

Lidasan also criticized President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and
presidential aspirant Gilberto Teodoro, Jr. and the rest of the
administration party’s move to expell the Ampatuans from their ranks,
adding that the administration merely absolve themselves from being
party to the rise and continuing warlordism of the Ampatuans in
Maguindanao.

‘We should not ignore that it is the same administration who gave the
Ampatuans the leverage over other politicians in Maguindanao in
exchange for the votes that the administration had been getting from
Maguindanao and the ARMM,’ said Lidasan saying that the administration and the Armed Forces of the Philippines should also be held liable for the proliferation of ‘legitimized’ private armies through the EO 546 creating the civilian auxiliary armies for local government units.

Palace challenged

Meanwwhile, the militant labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) challenged Malacañang today to fully disclose the meeting between Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Gabriel Claudio, ARMM Gov. Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan, and Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan held at Malacañang on Monday, the day when the massacre was committed.

“If there’s really a of sincerity in Arroyo’s ‘vow to pursue justice’ for the Maguindanao massacre victims, she should reveal their talks with the Ampatuans in her own backyard first,” said KMU Chairperson Elmer “Bong” Labog in separate statement e-mailed to The Pamalakaya Times.

“What the hell were the Ampatuans doing and talking about in Malacañang while their men rain bullets and rape the journalists, civilians, and their political enemies in Maguindanao? Arroyo and the Ampatuans have been silent and evasive on that meeting. And this only raises more suspicion that it was a meeting of the bosses to ensure the success of their murder plan at their safe house that is Malacañang,” said Labog.

“And they seem to be unfazed at all, because the day after when the massacre was uncovered, Presidential Adviser on Mindanao Affairs met with the Ampatuans again. Arroyo and minions just continue to chimmy-chummy with the criminals amid all the fingers that point to them.”

Cultivating the criminal

KMU recalled Andal Ampatuan’s declaration last national elections that he will award one million pesos to every mayor who will ensure landslide victory for Arroyo and her Team Unity party. And true enough, the very dubious 93.5% voters’ turnout in Maguindanao voted 12-0 for team unity.

KMU also cited Arroyo’s Executive Order 546, issued October 2006, as “license for the growth of warlordism” of the Ampatuans, and other political clans as well. The EO allowed local officials and the police to create civilian armies to further the fight against “insurgents.”

The Ampatuans are now believed to have a 500-strong army, including 200 special armed auxiliary forces in the guise of Civilian Volunteer Organizations (CVO) against insurgency.

“For justice to be served, the reign of they who will do everything to remain in power must be ended,” said Labog. #

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