02/12/2007, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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Filipino muftis write year of sermons to counter Muslim terrorism

by Santosh Digal
A group of Muslim leaders from the south of the country have written 55 sermons that will be read throughout the coming year “to counter the lies of those who barely know the Koran.”

Cotabato (AsiaNews) – The voice of those who do not know Islam “is becoming louder” and hate texts published by those who “barely understand the Koran” are appealing to Muslim youth more and more.

The conviction that this phenomenon should be “countered by all possible means” has prompted the Guardians of the House of Opinion – a group of muftis in the south of the Philippines – to write 55 sermons that will be read in mosques across the country throughout the coming year.

The leader of the guardians, Ustadz Abdulwahid Inju, said the khutba [group of sermons] will be delivered to ulemas who will have the task of adapting them to different social contexts in the Philippines.

The mufti said the decision to write the sermons was taken because “there is nothing in common between Islam, which stands for peace, harmony, order, justice and compassion, and acts of hatred, vengeance and evil committed by a fringe of Muslims.”

Indeed, he continued: “Islam and terrorism stand at opposite ends. In Islam, life is so sacred. It is a gift from God that He alone has the right to take back. Murder and the killing of innocent civilians are strictly forbidden, just as it is a grave sin to kill people as they worship, even if they are not praying in a mosque and not praying to Allah.”

The muftis of Cotabato, Basilan, Lanao Sur, Maguindanao, Marawi City, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi were involved in the drawing up of the sermons. They were acting upon an invitation issued by the government in its Security Law unanimously approved on 8 February.

In the law, the government urges “all those who have the possibility” to “act to prevent acts of terrorism and violence, baseless and harmful for security and national unity.”

For Ustadz Esmael Ebrahim, member of the House of Opinion and the muftis of Mindanao, the writings of the group “will be a strong weapon against terrorists and their lies. The faithful will understand because each of our words, as opposed to those who preach hatred, is based on authoritative and authentic Islamic sources.”

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