Video clips circulating in news reports and social media showing suspected followers of the jihadist terrorist Maute Group destroying religious icons of the Roman Catholic faith at Marawi City in the past couple of days have fueled dismay and expressions of disapproval from various sectors of society, including believers of Islam.
Ony Cantimbuhan, a collector of religious icons and images, felt a deep sadness: “Lahat tayo lumaki na ang pananampalataya natin ay nasa imahen, kaya pag nakita mo na mayroong imahen na sinisira, parang napakasakit sa kalooban bilang katoliko (We grew up expressing our faith through the holy images, which makes it painful to see these images dishonored, destroyed).”
Archbishop Oscar Cruz, former president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, expressed more than dismay at what he termed the “barbaric and uncivilized” actions.
“I was angry and I felt very offended. What could have driven them to do commit those acts against the images that have not done anything against them? This is 2017, no longer the age of the barbarians. It’s inexplicable.”
He underscored the teachings of the Church that Christians and Muslims are not enemies or adversaries: “Ang simbahan mismo, siya ang naglabas ng opisyal na pangaral o turo na ang mga Muslim at Kristiyano ay magkapatid, pagkat iisang diyos ama ang sinasamba nila pareho. Lumalabas na dala raw ng impluwensya ng teroristang grupong ISIS ang kinikilos ng Maute group (The Church itself officially teaches the Muslims and Christians are brothers, for they worship the same God. It appears that these actions by the Maute group are influenced by the terrorist ISIS).”
For his part, Imam Yusoph Dumarpa said: “Whatever the religion, it is wrong to destroy images in places of worship, because these are mediums of communing with the gods. If this is the Christian way, it should be respected the same way we Muslims practice Islam. Besides this is behavior that is not in the Quran.”
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