BIFF throws dare at Roxas for uttering ‘Muslim na mananakop’
DAVAO CITY — The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) slammed presidential candidate Mar Roxas for using the terms “Muslim na mananakop” during the second leg of debates among presidential bets in Cebu on Sunday.
BIFF spokesperson Abu Misri Mama said Roxas was being “ignorant and an aggressor” when he referred to the Moro National Liberation Front forces who were in the 2013 Zamboanga fighting as “Muslim na mananako.”
The rebel spokesman also dared Roxas, if he ever won as the country’s president, to fight the Moro rebels at the frontline.
Mama told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that the statement of Roxas showed his lack of understanding and knowledge of the context and history of the Bangsamoro people and Mindanao.
“It is not true that Muslims are invaders most especially here in Mindanao. This is our home and, in fact, we are one of the original inhabitants here,” Mama said.
The rebel leader said that when settlers from the Visayas arrived in their areas, they welcomed them with open arms and helped them start a living by utilizing the rich resources of the island.
“We accepted them as neighbors without any shade of discrimination,” Mama said.
But this good relationship was tarnished after the government, most particularly during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, employed a counter-insurgency campaign that spurred ethnic and religious divisions in the communities, Mama explained.
“During that time, we were fighting for our rights under the name of Black Shirts, and the government recruited settlers and armed them to crush our struggle. They were called Ilaga,” Mama said.
Mama added that they were fighting for their identity as well as their political and economic rights, and that they understood that the settlers who were recruited by the government were just hoodwinked in an atmosphere of fear and distrust. The same strategy, Mama said, was implemented while they were fighting for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and recently after they created the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
“There is bitterness because of this but we do not generalize all settlers and Christians. Many of them are good people,” Mama said.
“When a Muslim is guilty of robbery, you do not call Muslims as thieves the same way you do not call Christians corrupt just because a Christian president or politician is corrupt,” he added.
Mama lamented the “persisting religious bigotry” asserting that a person’s character should not be based on labels most especially faith-based identities.
The BIFF claims that it is fighting for independence in Mindanao and for the creation of a state based on the Islamic faith and the Shariah Law.
But Mama said that non-Muslims would be given equal rights and religious freedom if ever they achieved the goals of their struggle.
The veteran rebel, however, expressed worry over the elections if “politicians like Roxas” would win and lead the government.
“Roxas cannot become president. His victory would mean more wars in Mindanao,” Mama said.
But should Roxas win, Mama said the BIFF would challenge them to meet and fight them at the frontline.
“If he becomes president, we will invite him at the frontline to join the fighting,” Mama said. SFM
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