Religious extremism today and our mission of dialogue and peace in Mindanao PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 21 June 2014 13:04

The term “extremism” is one of the words used today to describe the increasing intolerance and the use  of   violence  among religious groups in some parts of the world to protect that  religious group’s   identity and or  political ends.

In recent history  this was  the case in Ireland between the Catholics and the Protestants;  in India between the Hindus and other religious groups;  in Egypt, Iraq, and Syria between  Muslim groups and between Muslims and Christians. Similar situations have been observed in other parts of the world.

Silsilah every year organizes a Special Summer Course of one week during which a  special topic is presented. This year on May 18-24, 2014, the Special Course given in Harmony Village, Zamboanga City, was on the topic “Religious Extremism Today and Our Mission of Dialogue and Peace in Mindanao”. Participants were mostly  Muslim and Christian leaders from the different areas of the Philippines. The special week started with a presentation by  Evelyn Luceño of   the results of a  survey conducted earlier in relation to the topic of  religious extremism.

The resource speakers—Prof. JulkipliWadi and Prof. Rudy Rodil -  in the following days gave their views  of extremism,  presenting the historical perspectives on extremism, how to confront challenges of  extremism, extremism as it has been demonstrated in the world and in the Philippines.

The participants were also enlightened as to what might be   the possible effects of extremism on the Bangsamoro Entity that will be in place when the CAB is place.  This was done with  the help of three  sharers  namely Fr. SebastianoD’Ambra,PIME, Al-Ustadz Abdulla Ebrahim and Sultan Maguid Maruhom. An open forum was held after the sharing to make the idea of the participants clearer on the matter.

Towards the end of the  Special Course the participants  came up with their statement of commitment:

The world created by God, endowed with beauty and abundance, is now experiencing brokenness and woundedness brought about by the global problems due to manipulation and corruption, violence and wars, displacement and marginalization, as well as the destruction of the environment because of greed and human carelessness. The realities of fundamentalism and extremism, much  of which is reaction to injustices, have became  global and local concerns  resulting  in indifference, intolerance, and isolation as religions are used for political advancement and personal gain. Having been made aware of these realities, we the participants of the 28th Silsilah Special Summer Course 2014, coming from different religions, cultures, ethnicities and nationalities, take these realities as an opportunity to take part in responding to the call of the times.

Thus, we state out commitments:

·        To constantly appreciate God’s love manifested in creation and humanity.

·        To uphold human dignity of each person regardless of religion, culture, ethnicity and race.

·        To revisit the basic teachings of our respective religions in order to avoid narrow and misleading interpretations of the core teachings of our faith which can  lead  to extremism.

·        To value the promotion of peace and harmony in the midst of diversity and prevailing atrocities.

·        To strive to enter into the process of self-purification “Jihad-un Nafs” and self-emptying “Kenosis” in forgiving ourselves and others, in order to be healed of  the wounds of the past and move forward, living together as one human family.

·        To take each step of our journey towards dialogue and peace with sincerity, enthusiasm, and enduring hope.

·        To sustain and nourish our dialogue with God, ourselves, others and creation as our lifestyle and spirituality.

May the all-merciful God help us to be faithful as we give witness to our commitments.  Alhamdulillah! — Silsilah Dialogue