Thursday, September 11, 2008

Forced Isolation -MUSLIMS IN QUAIPO

EXPECT the Muslim population in Metro Manila to swell every time the Bangsamoro conflict escalates down south. To escape the brutalities of war in Mindanao, many Muslims particularly flock to Quiapo, the heart of downtown Manila, where a sizable Muslim community has taken root since the 1970s in the vicinity of the Golden Mosque on Globo de Oro Street.

As it is not easy to find a place to stay in Manila, Quiapo provides them a home away from home. Quiapo’s Muslim settlement, after all, is what sociologist Mokhammad Yahya calls a self-contained ethnic community with deep communal and emotional ties, allowing them to “maintain their ethno-cultural identity from the onslaught of the Christian majority ideology and the modernizing/secularizing tendencies of urban life.”

But while in the city, Muslims cannot completely escape certain situations in their search for a better life, like having to adopt Christian names just to land a job as they end up working in Manila’s underground economy to support their forced isolation from their homeland.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Unbroken Spirit - Muslim Filipinos in time of war

“Unbroken Spirit — Muslim Filipinos in Time of War” taken during several trips to Maguindanao and Cotobato before September 2001. Depicted here are scenes from the battlefields of then Moro Islamic Liberation Front-controlled territories in Maguindanao, including rebel strongholds Camps Abubakar and Raja Muda, and the altered lives of ordinary Muslim Filipinos forced to stay at refugee camps in North Cotabato.

These scenes,are “repeated again and again every time conflict ensues between the MILF and the government.”

Indeed, then, as now, the decades-old war has seen no just end. Then, as now, peace has remained elusive for our Muslim brothers and sisters in Mindanao.

As a Filipino who faces racial discrimination in America,I can easily understand why Muslim Filipinos continue to struggle for justice and equality in their own land.They deserve better and they need a lasting peace.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Manila's Invisible Children

They jail children, don't they? In smelly cells in police stations, youth rehabilitation centers and mental hospital. They tie them up, chain them to beds, lock them up in filthy rooms. Children are put behind bars supposedly for their protection. But once there, their world is not much kinder than it was in the streets or slums. Food is scarce and stale. The cops are mean and the quarters, cramped and squalid. Policemen and wardens beat up little boys hauled from the streets, while young girls are molested. Once children are in jail or behind bars, their world becomes cramped and small" he says. Without outside help and concern, these children would be permanently scared.