Cebu Youth assembly tackles ‘Islamophobia’

By Minerva Newman

CEBU CITY— Over 100 youth, young leaders and rep­resentatives from the Muslim community and the Arch­diocese of Cebu gathered in Cebu over the weekend for a consultative assembly and in­terfaith dialogue that focused on violent extremism and role of media in understanding Islamophobia.

Former Lanao del Sur Gov­ernor and secretary of the Na­tional Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Saidamen Pangarungan said it is impor­tant to educate the youth about national concerns.

The NCMF initiated the dialog in partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

“The Philippine popula­tion has become younger and younger. Just by the sheer numbers, the youth has been forced to hold a stake in all national issues as they are the ones usually most affected by it,” Pangarungan said.

The forum briefed the youth on how they can influ­ence events, issues and other concerns such as violence, abuse, extremism and preju­dice among Muslim youth.

There were group discus­sions and workshops on the role of the youth in gover­nance, development and peace building, Pangarungan told Manila Bulletin.

Pangarungan said the youth’s energy should be chan­neled towards peace-building.

He said that what hap­pened in Marawi City, which took a heavy toll during the siege in 2017 should not be al­lowed to happen again in any Philippine city.

Pangarungan reminded the public that since Filipinos are a people of diverse faiths, interfaith dialogues are an effective way to bring peace. (With reports from Clyde Pic­zon, USC intern)