Print Version    Email to Friend
No to labelling Muslims

MANILA (UCAN): Human rights and religious groups have voiced opposition to a proposal from the Philippine National Police to issue identification cards to Muslims in The Philippines as a measure to root out extremists in the southern regions of the country.
Sister Famita Somogod, from the Rural Missionaries of The Philippines, called it discriminatory, adding that it highlights religion as being an issue in the current conflict that Mindanao is experiencing, which it is not.
Sister Somogod said that the conflict is not about religion, but it is repeatedly being used as an excuse in order to deepen the rift between the Christian and Muslim population.
The governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Mujiv Hataman, said it would set a dangerous precedent and ignite anger among young Muslims, who are the primary target for recruitment by extremist groups.
Hataman added that if identification cards were to be introduced the measure should be applicable to every resident in the community, not just Muslims.
Human Rights Watch said the move threatens to further single out Muslims as part of official counterterrorism efforts adding that it could violate the right to equal protection of the law, freedom of movement and other basic rights.
Ebra Moxsir, the president of the Imam Council of The Philippines, said his group would only support the system if it applied across the board.
The president, Rodrigo Duterte, has blamed leaders of Muslim communities in Mindanao for the siege in Marawi, saying that they have failed to prevent groups with links to the Islamic State from infiltrating the community.

More from this section