Believed to be first of its kind, young Ulama (Islamic scholars) convened to discuss issues confronting the Bangsamoro youth and formulate youth peace-building action plan.
Around 50 young Ulama from Cotabato City, North Cotabato and Maguindanao Province gathered in a conference entitled “Young Muslim Religious Leaders Conference-Philippines” held at EM Manor Hotel in Cotabato City on April 10-12, 2017 where they brought out concerns affecting the young Muslims of their respective communities.
With the support of The Asia Foundation, the activity was organized Action for Advancement and Development of Mindanao (AFADMin), a non-government organization advocating policy reform, good governance, responsible leadership as well as youth, women and community empowerment.
Among the major issues identified by the delegates during the workshop include vulnerability of the Bangsamoro youth to be involved with extremists or other radical groups like Shi’a, ignorance of Islamic values, and drug proliferation that can be blamed on narcopolitics.
They also hit traditional politicians who engaged in vote buying to gain power and later on enrich themselves.
The young religious leaders also lamented the failure of the Philippine government to deliver its commitment to the Bangsamoro people, the envisioned autonomous Bangsamoro government as stipulated in the peace agreement.
They also consider Islamophobia as one societal isuue that leads to discrimination and hatred towards the Muslims.
In their recommendations, the delegates underscored the importance of Islamic education that will teach the Muslim youth Islamic doctrine and give clarity on some misinterpretations of the verses from the holy Qur’an.
By strengthening Islamic values education, they believe that the problems on drug abuse in their communities can be addressed.
The delegates also underscored the importance of teaching the community members on the essence of shared leadership and qualities of good leaders in order to get rid of inefficient leaders.
The young Ulama cited their important role to motivate the youth to get involved in peace related activities like forum and symposium in support to the Bangsamoro peace process.
Datu Ali Ibrahim, OIC Focal Person for Operation, said they are confident that the young Ulama, highly respected in Muslim communities, can play big role in addressing youth problems and involved in community empowerment.
“We envision a peaceful, developed and progressive Bangsamoro community where its people are empowered and living in justice and equity,” he said.
AFADMin’s goal is to contribute in effecting political and socio-economic development of the Bangsamoro towards the attainment of peaceful, developed and progressive Mindanao.
Ali further said that AFADMin expresses its gratitude to The Asia Foundation for the assistance to the conference.