Muslim scholar sees nothing wrong with Arabic garb worn in Eat Bulaga
COTABATO CITY, Philippines – A Muslim scholar has called on Filipino Muslims to “calm down” on the wearing of Arabic garb as Halloween costume by Senator Tito Sotto and Joey de Leon on the October 31 episode of Eat Bulaga.
Wael Ibrahim, chair of the Hong Kong-based Serving Islam Team – a group aiming to clarify misconceptions about Islam, said “many people from the Philippines have asked me to comment on the news about actors who (wore) the Arabic thowb and khefeya (headgear with black ring) for a Halloween costume on a national TV show.
Ibrahim, an online preacher who studied Islam and comparative religion at the American Open University, said Muslims should not have taken the Halloween show so seriously.
He explained that “this attire is not an Islamic dress code that Muslim men must wear unlike the Hijab (veil) and Niqab (long dress) for women.”
“The white Thowb, red scarf and black ring are attire known for Saudi men and it is not an Islamic requirement for Muslim men to wear at all. In fact, sometimes I am wondering why non-Arab Muslims are wearing it,” Ibrahim said in a post on his Facebook account.
He wrote: “My Filipino brothers and sisters in Islam. Calm down, ignore the whole issue and instead seize the opportunity of this Halloween occasion to introduce Islam to the public in the best possible manner.”
“Don’t we have a ‘World Hijab Day’ where some Muslims themselves ask non-Muslim ladies to try on the Muslim dress code? Why this (case of the thowb) seems to be different?” Ibrahim asked.
The show drew flak on social media, mostly from among Moro Muslims, as they deemed the use of the garb in the show’s Halloween episode as an affront to Islam.
Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao even issued a statement requesting Eat Bulaga producers to apologize to the country’s Muslim public.
Ibrahim also posed the question as to what the Prophet Muhammad (saw) would have done, if he were alive today, in dealing with “insulting remarks on Islam.”
“(Would he have) asked the insulting party to apologize? Would he protest with his companions, etc? The answer is an absolute NO as we do have plenty of stories showing how the Prophet (PBUH) did respond to attacks on Islam and on his person. So again, either way, we should intellectually respond with an intention to invite him and others to (dialogue on) Islam rather than show him how much do we hate him and the like,” Ibrahim said in an earlier post on the same subject. SFM
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