Military to hold dialogues with Muslim leaders

By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol June 06,2017 - 09:40 PM


THE Armed Forces’ Central Command will hold a series of dialogues with the public aimed at fostering understanding on Islam for non-Muslims as part of their peace initiatives to counter terrorist violence.

Col. Medel Aguilar, asst. chief of the unified staff for Centcom’s civil military operations, said terrorism is caused by distorted ideologies and misinformation on Islam which he described as being “about love, peace and understanding.”

“There are wrong interpretations of the Quran as well as beliefs that Muslims and Christians could not coexist. These extremists think they are right while others are wrong — an attitude that borders on fanaticism and extremism,” Aguilar said.

While Muslims in Cebu and Central Visayas live peacefully with Christians and support the government’s programs, Aguilar said the Centcom wants to remind the public of what Islam is so they won’t be deceived by extremists exploiting the religion for their violent ends.

If there is one way to put an end to terrorism and prevent the spread of violence, he said, education is key.

Aguilar said Centcom is coordinating with the local media to help them advance their program to the public.

Aguilar said Muslim leaders will facilitate the teaching modules on Islam.

“By teaching them what Islam really is, we will be able to save them from people who may come here and distort their ideologies,” he said.

Aguilar said the dialogues will also help Christians understand Islam and build ties with Muslims.

“We have to prevent the spread of violence. Muslims and Christians can coexist peacefully. Trust begets trust. Respect begets respect,” he said.

“Freedom of religion is everyone’s right. But let us not say we are right and others are wrong. They may have different names, but we have the same God,” Aguilar said.

Aguilar said terrorism has become a global problem that needs to be addressed from its very core.

“The military is tasked to secure the people especially the most vulnerable so they won’t be influenced by wrong ideologies,” he said.

The Centcom official also called on the public to stop sharing a recent video on social media showing terrorists destroy a Catholic church, images of saints, and other sacred items in Mindanao.

“That video is divisive. If Catholics will see that and react, the conflict will only worsen. Our objective is to contain it. Please don’t contribute to the problem,” he told reporters.

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TAGS: Centcom, dialogues, extremists, hold, leaders, military, Muslim, violent

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