By Ali Macabalang
National Youth Commission (NYC) chairperson Aiza Seguerra has called for public prudence towards Muslims, especially those suffering from adversities spawned by the bloody crisis in Marawi City.
“We are all brothers, a little sensitivity will not hurt,” Seguerra said after receiving complaints of discrimination during a consultation dialogue with youth Muslim leaders.
The former child star visited Iligan City last July 1 and met Marawi youth representatives. Her visit was arranged by the Office of the Bangsamoro Youth Affairs (OBYA) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Amir Mawallil, OBYA executive director, told Seguerra that “such discrimination is one reason why radical movements and other forms of extremism have attracted young Muslims in previous years.”
Less than two weeks ago, a video footage turned viral in Facebook showing mostly young Muslim girls being bullied by an Iligan City-based traffic enforcement officer, shouting at them through a megaphone at a busy roadside here. The unidentified man wearing a red uniform with city government traffic unit badge fled when male evacuees threatened to rush at him.
Mawallil said Seguerra also heard several stories on discrimination against “young girls who were wearing hijab, the veil traditionally worn by female Muslims, being called ‘terrorists.’”
“No matter what religion, or culture we belong to, we are all brothers,” Seguerra said.
During the visit, Seguerra rendered songs with the participation of evacuees to lighten them up from obvious misery.
“These are the times when we can share our talents with other people in the purest way possible,” Seguerra said.
A subsequent dialogue was held here where Director Mawallil discussed the problem of radicalism and how young Muslims could prevent its entry in their communities.
In various forums, the OBYA chief underscored the importance of therole of youth in combating terrorism.
“We need to listen to the voices of the youth and understand how we can all better engage in preventing and countering violent extremism in all its various forms,” he added.
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