North Cotabato execs seek dialogue over slur in gambling tips
MIDSAYAP, Philippines – The municipal government here on Friday sought an urgent dialogue with Muslim residents, after a privately owned printing shop mass-produced a typescript of “tips” on illegal numbers game, which showed a caricature of pig stepping on a book labeled “Koran.”
Jordan Tayuan, a commander of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), pointed to a name-tag on the drawn pig, an Arabic writing which read “Muhamad”—and the caricature was entirely attributed by its printers to an “Inquirer Opinion Corner, August 17, 2014.”
(A simple look at the opinion page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Aug. 17, 2014 issue would show that no such cartoon exists. The editorial cartoon on that day, titled “Inhuman Economic Systems” shows the illustrated image of Pope Francis saying “Let’s Put a Stop to This” as he views Asian youth trapped by a dragon called “materialism.”)
Mayor Romeo Araña told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that aside from holding dialogue with local Muslims, he had sought an “immediate social investigation” as to who was or were behind the printing, their motive, and whether it was true the Inquirer had originally published the item deemed offensive to the Muslims.
Tayuan said some wanted to immediately place any culprit under Sharia law trial in the “courts” of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). But he said cooler heads prevailed and the fussing residents agreed that a thorough investigation and case evidence would have been needed even in a Sharia legal process.
The typescript leaf was like a poor reproduction of “Bulantoy,” an unauthorized print of probabilities passed off as tips usually bought by gambling aficionados of numbers games, including the popular “last-two,” and the winning three digits in the official lottery draws of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
Tayuan went to see the Inquirer after the Friday Muslim prayer in Cotabato City, asking whether it was true the Inquirer originated the publication. Tayuan wanted a copy of the newspaper’s August 17 issue “to assure them (the Muslims in Midsayap) that Inquirer did not publish this, contrary to the claim (of the gambling pad press).”
Ustadz Zainudin Abdulwahab, a radio host of a religious program, said those behind the printing could be out to sow intrigues, so that a few misguided individuals can be enticed to do crime generally against non-Muslims.
But Abdulwahab said it might also be a “timely lesson” to gambling Muslims to abandon the vice, which Islam prohibits. According to Abdulwahab, it is unlikely for religious persons to have seen or even get hold a copy of that piece of paper, since they do not bet in any form of gambling.
Araña said he has asked Tayuan to help defuse tension, in case offended Maguindanaon Muslim residents come to confront the printing shop owners, who were not identified by authorities “to preserve community peace and harmony between Christians and Muslims here.”
Originally posted: 5:00 pm | Sunday, August 24th, 2014
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