THE Balik Islam Council (BICDC) underscored the importance of the "Kapag may Nakita, Magsalita" campaign initiated by the local government unit (LGU) during their inaugural Balik Islam Congress held on Saturday morning, September 23, at the Almendras Gym.
BICDC president Ustadh Ismael Ricky M. Espanol highlighted the council's dedication to anti-terrorism and counter-terrorism efforts, promoting unity and enhancing the city's security culture.
Acknowledging their commitment, the Task Force-Davao presented BICDC with two plaques of appreciation for their ongoing efforts in combating terrorism.
In his address, Espanol shared the past misconceptions surrounding Islam, where converts were unfairly stigmatized as terrorists or rebel group members.
He added that BICDC's mission is to dispel these misconceptions and showcase the true teachings of Islam, which have inspired many to engage in virtuous deeds and maintain their commitment to prayer.
“Matakot ka noh kapag sabihan ka na pumasok ka sa Islam tapos terorista kana ngayon, Abu Sayyaf kana ngayon so yun yung mga sinasabi sa atin mapapaiyak nalang ako that time nung pumasok ako sa Islam kasi yun yung nasa isip nila (It's frightening when you're told that joining Islam means you'll be labeled a terrorist or an Abu Sayyaf member. This really made me cry because when I became part of Islam this is what they think. It is disheartening because that's the perception people had when I converted to Islam),” Espanol said.“Siguraduhin natin mga kapatid sa pananampalataya sa Islam na hindi tayo mapunta sa maling landas noh kagaya nung nagyari sa Marawi na marami ang binayaran para lang maging ISIS sila (We must ensure, my fellow believers in Islam, that we do not stray onto the wrong path, like what happened in Marawi, where many were paid to join ISIS).” Espanol said.
Espanol also called for unity and encouraged community members, even those in remote areas like Marilog or Paquibato, to promptly report any witnessed illegal activities.
BICDC announced the establishment of a Balik-Islam desk in the Interim Moro Affairs Office, providing an avenue for representation and support regarding Muslim affairs and concerns in the city.
Representing Mayor Sebastian Duterte during the congress, Councilor Jafar Marohomsalic, the Sanguniang Kabataan Federation President and Head of the Youth and Sports Committee, stressed the significance of unity within a community centered on peace, understanding, and respect.
"It is our hope that you will stand united not only as individuals but as an entire community moving towards progress and prosperity by drawing on each other's strength; we believe that we can make positive change in our communities, propelling it to greater heights," Marohomsalic said.
Marohomsalic said Duterte had tasked him with drafting a new executive order to ensure representation for all communities and sectors in the city. A new executive order concerning the Davao City Muslim Affairs Council would soon be released to bridge the gap between the Local Government Unit (LGU) and the Muslim sector.
With a membership of 5,000 individuals, BICDC continues to provide essential support and a sense of community for those who have embraced Islam. RGP