I know enough about Islam and Muslims to know that their religion is in no way linked to violence or murder. Every religion has its murderers and saints but we are in no way given the right to choose one better over the other.
Please do not use this Ampatuan Massacre as an excuse to push for hatred against our Muslim brothers and sisters. And let us please not call this the Maguindanao Massacre because the people of Maguindanao are not terrorists. Several years ago, my father visited those lands in order to document their weaving history for a book project and he passed the very same highway where those people were killed. He recalls a peaceful and kind Maguindanao and not one that foreigners have hastily called extremely dangerous and barbaric. Yes, we have a long history of difficulty with militant groups that have chosen Mindanao as their base but when we condemn their actions, we don’t condemn those Mindanaoans who strive to do Allah proud and live dignified lives.
While the situation brings us grief and shatters our idea of a safe home, let this not be an excuse for cyclical violence in word or deed. We ought to learn from history and not allow atrocities like this to ever settle in our shores again.
Once again, Assalamu alaikum.