Muslim community grieves death of peace advocate in GenSan
KORONADAL CITY –– The Muslim community in Region 12 is grieving the death of a prominent Muslim university professor and peace advocate from the hands of still unknown gunmen in nearby General Santos City (GenSan).
Mohamad Taha Abdulgapor, an instructor of Islamic Studies at the Mindanao State University–General Santos campus, was shot dead at past 5 p.m. on Tuesday along the national highway in Barangay Apopong, GenSan.
Muslim leaders condemned on Wednesday the murder of Abdulgapor as they urged authorities to thoroughly investigate the slaying.
Abdulgapor was driving the family vehicle when attacked by gunmen, resulting in the wounding of the victim’s wife, Salimah, who was seated beside him.
They were on their way home to nearby Polomolok, South Cotabato. The wife was hit in the arm and has been declared out of danger by attending physicians.
“He’s a big loss to the local peace movement. We look up to him as an exemplary Muslim leader and a good lecturer in Islamic studies and finance,” said Gandhi Kinjiyo, vice president of Katiyakap, Inc, a group advocating peace, Islamic financing, and the halal industry.
“Professor Taha will be remembered as a peace advocate. He strongly discouraged violent extremism in various occasions that we invited him as a resource speaker,” he told the Inquirer on the phone.
Apart from being a university professor, Abdulgapor has been a member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) local monitoring team in South Cotabato and serves in the Bangsamoro Development Agency, the MILF’s development arm.
In November 2018, Abdulgapor said he supported the creation of a new Bangsamoro region, now known as the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, although he lived outside the region then known as the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Quraish Langcap, an organizer for the United Bangsamoro Justice Party, the MILF’s political party, also described Abdulgapor as a respected Muslim leader.
“He will be sorely missed by many who sought his advice,” Langcap said in a separate phone interview.
Former Akbayan party-list Rep. Mario Aguja also condemned the murder. Aguja said Abdulgapor’s death was a sad day for his colleagues at the academe.
“He will be remembered as the peace educator (and) advocate who died violently,” Aguja, a teacher at MSU-General Santos City, said on social media.
“When will the killing stop? We call for justice for Professor Taha. Justice for all victims of senseless deaths,” he added.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.