Wednesday, October 13, 2004


As my usual habit, I read when I get to work and guess what, the issue about Greenhills building a mosque inside the mall itself was literally spilling from page to page, from both sides.

I personally felt insulted, and ashamed of myself as a Christian when I read how residents of that area voiced out their opposition regarding the move to finally provide our Moslem brothers a place of worship of their own. After all, there's bound to be a Catholic chapel nearby, as well.

Heck, even the new Centennial Terminal Two has one, with zero consideration for Moslem travellers, even those of other faiths.

In fact, in a country that is historically Islamic (even Rajah Soliman, Manila's last King, was Moslem), it is a shock that Christians would insinuate that thievery is a trait exclusive to Moslems, thus their opposition to the mosque. They say that it might attract the bad Moslems to flock to that area, thus putting the Christian residents' lives in peril.

Uh-huh. Amazing logic.

I always tell friends who are afraid of travelling to Mindanaw that in my more than ten (10) years of stay there, I have never been a witness to violence as terrible as the one I experienced in Manila years ago (remember the Rizal Day bombings?).

I was boarding my flight to Cagayan de Oro that sunny, quiet Sunday afternoon when an explosion in the nearby cargo center rocked the glass panels of the airport. I was immediately sprawled on the floor with my cousin. The airport doors were being closed, and the other passengers from the parked Boeing 737-300 were running out, foremost among them was a college classmate who thought the aircraft blew up (yeah, right!).

I never looked at Manila the same way again.

By the way, it was the MILF who were suspected to have been the perpetrators but that's behind the point (say, I may have weakened my defense there, fuck.)

Suffice to say that during my University days at the Ateneo, I have met several nice Moslems with whom I continue to be friends with. I even remember when I was University Council President that Moslem students approached me to request for a "resting place" for them when they observe the Ramadhan and the Eid ul'Fitr.

The administration, sadly enough, turned down the request saying that no particular group should be given such a privilege. Hmmmm. I suddenly see that parallelism here between that incident and the one in Greenhills.

Where is this "fear" coming from? This feeling of uneasiness, this uncertainty? I know for a fact that Islam believes in peace. In fact, ISLAM is derived from the Arabic work SALEMA, which means peace, purity, submission and obedience.

Moslems in the Philippines, and those from all over the world, have suffered so much from the hands of Christians. Most of the Catholic Church's major expeditions in the East were directed against the Turks. In the Philippines, these efforts were against the Moros. Why, even the Virgin's titles commemorate events that recall Catholic victory over Moros (or even against the Chinese and the Ducth).

I strongly support Greenhills in their effort to bring together faiths in their establishment, and to promote racial harmony and peace. For the Christians, it is high time we treat our Moslem brothers with more respect and esteem. Only God knows who He will admit to Heaven. We might be in for a nasty surprise.

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