Ulama seek Sulu execs’ help in freeing sisters
COTABATO CITY—A group of ulama (Islamic scholars) here called on Sulu officials to help secure the release of two sisters, who were taken captive by the Abu Sayyaf while they were filming a documentary in the province.
Ustadz Jaafar Ali, a member of the board of the National Ulama Council of the Philippines (NUCP), said Nadjoua Bansil, 39, and her sister, Linda, 36, should be freed unconditionally by the group that is holding them since June 22.
The Bansil sisters were filming a documentary on the Sulu sultanate when snatched in Patikul town.
Several persons have been invited for questioning over their disappearance but information on the progress of the case has been coming in trickles.
Ali expressed lament that efforts by relatives of the victims and concerned Muslims to reach out to the Abu Sayyaf have not yielded positive results so far.
“They could not establish a direct contact with the kidnappers but influential leaders of Sulu could intervene and secure their safe release,” he told the Inquirer here.
Ali also criticized the Abu Sayyaf, also known as Harakatul Islamiyyah and has been claiming to champion the cause of Islam, as it has been targeting the very people who have been making contributions for the advancement of the faith.
Like their father, the late Aleem Abdulbassit, the siblings were known to espouse moderate Islam, which is in stark contrast with the Abu Sayyaf’s extremist view, he said.
When it was founded by Abdurajak Janjalani in the late 1980s, the Abu Sayyaf vowed to become a thorn on the side of non-Muslim settlers and has since been responsible for a spate of kidnappings in Mindanao.
But Ali immediately added that kidnapping in itself, regardless of who the victim is, is un-Islamic.
The NUCP has consistently denounced the Abu Sayyaf’s activities.
Most Muslim scholars are in agreement that the activities of the Abu Sayyaf are not what jihad, or holy war, is calling for. Nash B. Maulana, Inquirer Mindanao