Muslims react on use of Eat Bulaga hosts of ‘thaw’b; as Halloween costume PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 03 November 2015 13:26

Peace activists in Central Mindanao on Monday demanded public apology from television hosts Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III and Joey de Leon for wearing the thaw’b in last week’s Halloween edition of Eat Bulaga.

While the thaw’b is just a casual dress for men in the Middle East and Islamic states in North Africa, most male Muslims, including Filipinos, wear it when performing obligatory worship rites.

Sotto and De Leon both wore a thaw’b during a Halloween episode of GMA-7’s Eat Bulaga noontime show last week.

“It’s saddening, so saddening to see them do travesty like that,” said Imam Rubhaini, an ethnic Tausog handling Islamic religious classes in a Madrasah school in a seaside town in Maguindanao.

Public school teachers involved in peace education programs in isolated areas in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) were as disappointed.

“We teach our students respect for traditions, cultures and spiritual norms of people with different faiths and here are two popular TV personalities, one of them a national lawmaker, making fun of the thaw’b, as if it is something TV viewers should be afraid of,” said a school principal in Basilan province.

The thaw’b is not a religious dress, but many Muslim men wear it, as a tradition, when they perform the five obligatory prayers each day facing the west and in their jumaah rites during Fridays.

“Seeing Christians wear it is not an issue. Non-Muslims in the Middle East wear it too. The question is why wear the thaw’b in a comical Halloween presentation. That is the issue,” said female preacher Fatimah Bint Yahyah.

Officials of the ARMM’s Madaris Education Bureau said they too were disgusted with the use of thaw’b for entertainment purposes.

“We can only pray for their enlightenment. It’s not the wearing of such attire by both of them that we lament. It’s their use of such attire for something comical that hurt us,” said an education official.

Anwar Emblawa, a member of the municipal council in Maguindanao’s Datu Abdullah Sangki town, said he will never be offended seeing men and women  wear traditional dresses of other people with different races and ethnic identities as long as without malicious intentions.

“What did Senator Sotto and comedian Joey de Leon tried to depict? That a thaw’b is a scary costume? That for me was sickening,” Emblawa said.

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman, who has more than five million Muslim constituents, said the noontime Eat Bulaga show must apologize for the use by its two hosts of the thaw’b in an unacceptable manner.

“They equated the garb with costumes to be feared about, in the same way that fictional zombies and ghouls are to be feared of too,” Hataman said.

He said what Eat Bulaga did in its Halloween episode last week was a mockery of the country’s Muslim community.

“And it was done in the name of entertainment,” Hataman lamented.