Muslim, Christian leaders condemn violence ‘under the guise of religion’

January 19, 2024 - 3:52 PM
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Lanao Del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr. looks on as law enforcement officers investigate the scene of an explosion that occurred during a Catholic Mass in a gymnasium at Mindanao State University in Marawi, Philippines, December 3, 2023. (Lanao Del Sur Provincial Government/Handout via Reuters)

Muslim and Christian leaders met this week in a display of interreligious unity more than a month after a deadly bombing rocked a Catholic Mass at a university in the southern city of Marawi.

In deploring the December 3 attack that claimed four lives, they asserted that the killing of innocent civilians and religious believers is a “demonic act” that must be “condemned by the teachings of every religion in the world.”

“The killing of innocent civilians by terrorists under the guise of religion is a condemnable and cruel irreligious act that defiantly contradicts both Muslims and Christian beliefs,” they said in a statement.

As religious leaders, they have agreed to be “pro-active against similar terrorist acts” by imparting the true teachings of their religious traditions and sacred scriptures—the Qur’an and the Bible—to their followers.

The way of interreligious dialogue is one of the most effective ways of establishing a culture of peace, mutual respect and understanding among peoples of different faiths in the Bangsamoro and the whole country in general,” they added.

The meeting took place on Jan. 16 to 17 in Cotabato City, which was also in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Jan. 24 Peace Day.

In attendance were 11 Muslim and seven Christian religious leaders in Mindanao, together with Presidential Peace Adviser Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr.

Among the signatories of the statement titled ‘Religions are for Peace’ were Dr. Muhammad Nadzir Ebil, an Islamic Jurist from the Bangsamoro Darul-Ifta; Emran Mohamad, the executive director of Bangsamoro Darul-Ifta; Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, the archbishop emeritus of Cotabato; Archbishop Angelito Lampon of Cotabato; Bishop Edwin Dela Peña of Marawi; and Archbishop Emeritus Antonio Ledesma of Cagayan de Oro.