I’ve been telling my colleagues at the office that we should stop using the phrase “ang mga kapatid nating Muslim” (our Muslim brothers) to refer to the Moros (Filipino Muslims) because this sounds patronizing. It’s like we treat them differently from the Christian majority. The use of “ang mga kapatid nating Muslim” has become an ostentatious cliche. It ironically highlights the wall between Filipino Christians and Moros. When we refer to the Christians–Catholic, Protestants, Born Again–we never say “ang mga kapatid nating Katoliko.”
In this season of assaults against the Moros, below is an unedited letter to the editor–a justified reaction to injustice that the Filipino Muslims are getting these days. It was written and posted by a Friendster friend:
The PDI has gained its credibility for being the most preferred newspaper. Our class in Media Studies conducted a survey inside MSU (just this 2nd semester) and the findings say that 82% of the students prefer PDI. I myself favor the PDI over the other variety of national newspapers.
But today- January 10, I got really offended by a chosen adjective in the headline story written by Tarra Quismundo and Christian Esguerra.
The article was entitled, Faith proves stronger than fear in Quiapo Police officials doubt bomb plot.
It was an account of the successful feast of the black Nazarene. The event was highly commended because of the Police Visibility which (may have) resulted the absence of terrorist attacks or other major crimes in the area.
The offensive part is in the very first paragraph: NOT EVEN police claims about a supposed Islamic bomb plot could hold back the massive human tide. The word Islamic to refer to the bomb is an insult to the Islamic Community. It only manifests the writers ignorance on the word (Islamic). If they knew the true meaning of it, they wouldnt dare use it to something that has an apparent negative connotation. Bomb- to its literal context is for terrorism If the writers argue that based on the current stories, Islamic militants normally wage terrorism- like Bin Laden and the Abu Sayaff- it is still ignorance slapping the face of Philippine Journalism.
I am a practicing Muslim, and in behalf of the Islamic community- we condemn terrorism in any form. You can hear these cries on the march of progressive militants and Muslim protesters on the streets.
If its not ignorance- then the other alternative to describe the preference of the writers word is even worse. It is PREJUDICE. A depiction of prejudice on the very first paragraph of the top story- headline of the countrys most trusted newspaper. If there was an interest to discriminate the Muslims by attaching the word Islamic to something that kills, something that destroys it only provokes the Christian Community to hate the Muslims- Who wouldnt hate a religion who bombs? – To the extent of aligning it to something HOLY- Islamic as they call it.
When Erap was ousted- you cant hear the Muslims saying- At last, a corrupt Christian president is finally out of the position. When GMA supported the War against Afghanistan and Iraq, you can never hear people saying that shes the female CHRISTIAN President who is all out support to the CHRISTIAN President Bush on his CHRISTIAN War on ISLAMIC Terror. When the Afghans and Iraqis lost their identity in their own country- they dont call the bombs surged in them- the CHRISTIAN and JEWISH bombs.
Im hoping that it is clear now and that you will be more careful because you hold responsibility for being an influential medium.
I would like to thank you for your time in reading this letter. Let not the corrupt media strike again.>