By Denis Murphy
INDONESIA, the Philippines’ sister republic to the south, has solved one of the great cultural-political dilemmas of modern times: It has shown that Islam and democracy are compatible. Most talk on this matter focuses on the West and the Middle East and is very negative about the chances of the two cultures living in peace with each other. Just recently, for example, the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt was seen by some writers as “the death of political Islam.” Indonesia has solved the problem and made it look easy. There was none of the riots, battles, or furious demonstrations we have seen elsewhere.
By Juan L. Mercado
“Mad is he?” King George II once snarled about one of his aides. “Then, I hope he’ll bite some of my generals.” It would also be daft if any official here tried to confiscate Korans from Filipino Muslims. Both law and practice buttress liberty of faith.
By Juan L. Mercado
Muslims in mosques from Quiapo to Cotabato call Divinity as “Allah.” In Cebu Daily News, an imam writes a weekly column on his faith. Liberties of faith and speech are constitutionally buttressed rights here. Muslims form 5 percent of the population, Catholics 83 percent and Iglesia ni Cristo 2.3 percent.
By Macabangkit B. Lanto
I am a Muslim who has lived the most part of his life in a Christian environment. Far from dreaming to be canonized as the next Mahdi (redeemer), I have tried my human best to observe the tenets and proscriptions of the Holy Koran, including its arcane rituals and prayers. And this tenacity to practice my religion in a Christian setting has caused me untold inconveniences. I am not complaining, but it is a tribulation hardly known to many non-Muslims.
The release of cameraman Ramelito Vela and soundman Rolando Letrero by the Abu Sayyaf should compel authorities to double their efforts to have Jordanian journalist Baker Abdulla Atyani and other foreign captives of the extremist group also freed. It should also disabuse everyone, especially the Arab press, of the idea that the Abu Sayyaf is a respecter of Islam and Muslims.