Today's Punto
Today's Punto
The heart of the conflict

May 30, 2017

MARTIAL LAW might buy us short-term cessation of hostilities. But it does not uproot the despair that has bedeviled our people for years. Let us aim for the very roots of our temptation to terror and violence.

We listen to our Provincial superior, Fr Tony Moreno SJ, himself a Mindanaoan, who has written:

“Conflict in Mindanao, we know, is rooted in social injustice. Poverty in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao is the highest in the country. Educational delivery is worst in the country. Conflict in Mindanao is increasingly caused by what Pope Francis has so often decried, and most recently repeated in Cairo: ideology that masquerades as religion. In Mindanao, our Muslim friends decry a corruption of their religion of peace into a Wahabi-Salafi ideology of hatred that victimizes not only Christians but especially Muslims of peace. Even so, many Muslim youth in Mindanao today are drawn to this ideology. It comes with many names: ISIS, BIFF, Abu Sayaf, Maute. Eliminate these, and there will still be many more. They are frustrated by rounds of ostentatious negotiations that do not prosper; they are wearied of their hunger or joblessness; they are fascinated by the idea of a world where their ideology rules supremely and exclusively. All who do not agree, they are taught to hate. Or kill.

“This is the heart of the serious conflict in Mindanao that we must address. Before it ever explodes in violence like in Marawi, it brews in the frustration and pain of social exclusion. And martial law and any such hard-fisted solutions do not get to the roots of this problem, let alone benefit the country as a whole.”

In this month of Ramadan, we pray with our Muslim brothers and sisters for God to show us the way to lasting peace. And we pledge our support to our brothers and sisters of Marawi, for all that they will need to rebuild their beautiful city.

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.

(Joint statement of all Ateneo presidents on the current situation in Mindanao).

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