Posts Tagged With: Ateneo de Davao University

Mindanao Studies: A Proposed Framework

(A modified transcript of fifteen-minute presentation under the panel “Peoples and Faiths: A Mindanao Overview” at the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU)-School of Social Sciences (SOS) – Mindanao Scholars’ Consultation-cum-Conversations on Mindanao Studies” on September 12, 2018 at Ateneo de Davao University, Davao City, Philippines.)

Salamun ‘alaykum and good morning to all of you!

Thank you, Sir Joey [Sescon] for giving me carte blanche to focus on any topic; hence, I opt for “Mindanao Studies: A Proposed Framework”. In continuing this conversation started by Br. Karl [Gaspar], I shall give an introductory anecdote, then state the existing conceptual framework in the study of Mindanao. Thereafter, I shall propose an alternative framework. After laying down this proposed framework, I shall talk about the ‘target profile’ to be followed by the objectives. Then I will proceed with my recommendation and finally make my concluding remarks.

Introductory Anecdote

At the outset, let me narrate to you an anecdote about a Maguindanaon perennial student who always strives to tell the story of Mindanao to himself, his fellows and others. By the way, ‘Maguindanao’ is where we derive the name ‘Mindanao’. (According to one view, Maguindanao is derived from ‘maginged’ (community) and ‘danaw’ (flood, inundation, marsh) to mean “inundated plain”. So, Mindanao (‘mindanaw’) means ‘inundated’.)

In October 2016 at the Philippine Sociological Society (PSS) Conference here in Davao City, the said student presented a paper entitled “Bay‘ah: The Missing Link in the Military’s Denial of ISIS’ Presence in the Philippines” (see http://mlimba.com/bayah-the-missing-link-in-the-militarys-denial-of-isis). At the end of the presentation, a lady professor who claimed to be connected with the military intelligence stood up and confidently dismissed the presentation’s thesis (ISIS’ presence in the country).

A few months later, on May 12, 2017 to be exact, at the Philippine Political Science Association (PPSA) Conference in Cebu City, the same student presented a paper on “The Media Discourse on Violent Extremism in Mindanao: A Postmodernist Reading”. During the open forum, a former government negotiator in the GRP-MILF peace talk insisted that “There are only ‘ISIS-inspired’ or ‘ISIS-sympathizers’ in the country.” Exactly 11 days afterward, the Marawi Siege happened!

Existing Framework

As I see it, this anecdote is a glaring example of the existing conceptual framework in which in the field of research on Mindanao, the Mindanaon is just a field researcher, research assistant or transcriber, while the Manila-based scholar or professor is the Mindanao expert in published books and conferences. Within this framework, Mindanao is treated as an object of study, and Mindanao Studies program is seen as an attempt to provide ‘voice’ to Mindanao through an outside spokesman, who happens to be the Manila-based author or professor. This is because Mindanao is not mature yet and can’t articulate enough.

Proposed Framework

What we humbly proposed is a framework in which Mindanao is a subject. Under this framework, Mindanao Studies program is considered an attempt to provide ‘voice’ to Mindanao by letting it speak for itself. Here, Mindanao is no longer treated as mere object of study but subject as well. Having this framework, Mindanao will tell stories about the mosaic of its peoples as diverse as its water current and waves and yet as united as its rivers and the seas that surround it are.

Target Profile

As some of us know very well, the first step in the curriculum development process (CDP) is the definition of the ‘target profile’. By definition of the ‘target profile’ we mean an attempt to define what should be (‘target’) the characteristics (‘profile’) of a graduate from the program (Mindanao Studies). As such, it embodies what our expectations of the program graduates are.

Now, granting that a sound definition of ‘target profile’ provides both a comprehensive and a holistic blueprint that can be potentially implemented in the program, what then is our ‘target profile’? In other words, what is the supposed trademark of our graduate?

In broader terms and for the purpose of this conversation, we may say that our target profile is a graduate with ‘a balanced worldview’. It is a worldview that could tell both the story of laughter and tears of Mindanao. It is a worldview that listens to both the ‘gong’ of kulintang and the agony of palendag. It is a worldview that pays heed to both the splendor of okir and sarimanok, and the might of kampilan and lantaka.

Objectives

As among its objectives, the Mindanao Studies program is supposed to help in (1) the formation of a national motto or slogan (By the way, do we have already a national motto such as Pancasila of Indonesia? Our Panatang Makabayan is too long to memorize, let alone internalize; for the millennials, that which is more akin to a hashtag or tagline is more appealing). The program should also be in tune with (2) the inculcation of national core values (such as patrimony, respect for diversity, acknowledgment of national history as a product of many local histories, and others). Obviously, it should also (3) contribute to nation-building and development through the discovery, promotion and utilization of Mindanao potentials and strengths.

Recommendation

One recommendation for this program is that it should not limit the students to the theory of Mindanao but to engage them as well in its praxis, or else, it will definitely meet the same fate of peace and development studies programs whose students are fed up with concepts and theories but no sufficient skills in the actual practice of peace and development (for example, skills about negotiation and mediation, entrepreneurship, and investment analysis, among others).

To be specific, if the student would intend to focus on Mindanao history and culture, then she should be introduced to actual ethnography, cultural mapping, and local history writing. If she would want to delve into Mindanao politics and administration, then she should be directed to immerse in Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), Southern Philippines Development Authority (SPDA), the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), or similar agencies of the government. If she would incline to specialize in Mindanao economy and finance, then she has to be familiarized with the various plantations in Mindanao, the halal industry, Islamic banking, and shari‘ah-compliant investment products, among others.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we humbly submit that an ideal – if not the ideal – offering of Mindanao Studies program is not just to provide opportunity to tell the story of Mindanao, but rather to let Mindanao tell its own story, nay stories, to itself, its own people as well as to others. Being an interlocutor itself, Mindanao is now less in need of a spokesman, but rather of attentive listeners.

And I thank you for listening!

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Interfaith and Intercommunal Practices: The Case of Ateneo de Davao’s Al Qalam Institute

MasterPeace Leadership Summit:
Theme: “Filipino Youth at the Forefront of a Peaceful Future”
Organized by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), Sept 29-Oct 1, 2017, Crown Regency Hotel, Davao City, Philippines

Presentation Outline:
Interfaith Dialogue
University Vision-Mission
Al Qalam Institute
University’s 4 Main Thrusts
Formation
Instruction
Research
Engagement
Future Trajectories
Concluding Remarks

   
Categories: Education, Interfaith and Intra-faith Dialogue | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The ‘Amman Message’: A Primer

The Amman Message

MAKATI CITY (3 June) – Immediately after the first round of Pakighinabi (Conversation) Series on the significance of the ‘Amman Message’ in interfaith and intra-faith dialogues (http://www.addu.edu.ph/blog/2015/04/29/the-significance-of-the-amman-message-by-dr-mansoor-limba) at the Ateneo de Davao University, Davao City, on April 22, 2015, and another presentation (The Role of Religious Organizations in the Promotion of Mutual Understanding and Harmony: The Case of ‘Amman Message’) at an international interreligious conference on the approach of Islam and Christianity towards religious extremism and violence (http://www.ust.edu.ph/news/international-conference-on-interreligious-dialogue) held at the University of Santo Tomas, Manila, on April 29-30, 2015, the need for an introductory reading material on the said document was expressed by some attendants to both forums. This primer is a personal response to the said request.

Q: What is the ‘Amman Message’?

A: The ‘Amman Message’ started as a detailed statement released on the eve of the 27th of Ramadan 1425 AH / 9th November 2004 by H.M. King Abdullah II ibn al-Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Q: What does the ‘Amman Message’ significantly contain?

A: The ‘Amman Message’ significantly contains three (3) questions posed to 24 of the most senior Muslim scholars from around the world (including Shaykh al-Azhar of Egypt, Ayatullah Sistani of Iran and Shaykh Qaradawi of Qatar): (1) Who is a Muslim? (2) Is it permissible to declare someone an apostate (takfir)? (3) Who has the right to undertake issuing fatwas (legal rulings)?

Q: What relevant event happened subsequent to the issuance of the detailed statement?

A: In order to cement further the religious-legal authority of the answers to the said three fundamental questions, King Abdullah II convened in July 2005 an international Islamic conference of 200 of the world’s leading Muslim scholars (‘ulama) from 50 countries.

Q: What were the points highlighted in the said conference?

A: Three (3) points were highlighted in the said conference, namely: (1) Whosoever is an adherent to one of the four Sunni schools (madhahib) of Muslim jurisprudence (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi‘i, and Hanbali), the two Shi‘ah schools of Muslim jurisprudence (Ja‘fari and Zaydi), the Ibadi school of Muslim jurisprudence and the Thahiri school of Muslim jurisprudence, is a Muslim. (2) There exists more in common between the various schools of Muslim jurisprudence than there is difference between them. (3) Acknowledgement of the schools of Muslim jurisprudence (madhahib) within Islam means adhering to a fundamental methodology in the issuance of fatwas.

Q: In short, what is the significance of the ‘Amman Message’ in intra-faith dialogue or the relationship among Muslims?

A: The said document is reportedly the largest contemporary ijma (consensus) in the Muslim world. From July 2005 to July 2006, it had already earned 552 endorsements from 84 countries including those of the late King Abdullah al-Saud and 14 other personalities from Saudi Arabia, Al-Azhar University Rector (mufti) Sheikh Tantawi of Egypt, Sheikh Qaradawi of Qatar, Ayatullah Sistani of Iraq, and Imam Khamene’i of the Islamic Republic of Iran. As of June 1, 2015, there are 68,975 online endorsements since March 1, 2007.

Q: What are other efforts along this line of the ‘Amman Message’?

A: In contemporary time, there have been many intra-faith efforts by Muslim scholars, some of which are the correspondences (al-muraja‘at) between Sheikh Salim Bisri of Al-Azhar University, Egypt, and Sayyid Sharafuddin Musawi of Lebanon; the exchanges between Sheikh Mahmud Shaltut of Al-Azhar University, Egypt, and Sayyid Husayn Burujerdi of Iran; the opening of Dar al-Taqrib bayn al-Madhahib fi’l-Islam (Forum for Proximity of the Schools of Thought in Islam) in Egypt; re-opening of Dar al-Taqrib bayn al-Madhahib fi’l-Islam in Tehran; the declaration of 12th to 17th of the Islamic lunar month of Rabi‘ al-Awwal as International Islamic Unity Week; and the annual International Islamic Unity Conference every month of Rabi‘ al-Awwal, among others.  

Q: In short, what is the significance of ‘Amman Message’ in interfaith dialogue or the relationship of Muslims with followers of other religions?

A: A relevant point highlighted in ‘Amman Message’ is that acknowledgement of the schools of Muslim jurisprudence (madhahib) within Islam means adhering to a fundamental methodology in the issuance of fatwas. In other words, only a high-ranking Muslim scholar worth his title has the authority to issue religious edict, which oftentimes targets the lives of both Muslims and non-Muslims. As such, not any Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman or ‘Ali is religiously qualified to do so.

Amman Message’ website further elaborates, thus: “The safeguarding of the legal methodologies of Islam (the madhahib) necessarily means inherently preserving traditional Islam’s internal ‘checks and balances’. It thus assures balanced Islamic solutions for essential issues like human rights; women’s rights; freedom of religion; legitimate jihad; good citizenship of Muslims in non-Muslim countries, and just and democratic government. It also exposes the illegitimate opinions of radical fundamentalists and terrorists from the point of view of true Islam.”

Q: Given this intra-faith and interfaith significance of the ‘Amman Message,’ how can one endorse the document?

A: It is very easy. The endorsement can be done online. Just visit ‘Amman Message’ website at http://www.ammanmessage.com.

Q: How long will online endorsement take?

A: It will only take one to three minutes to fill up the following information: full name; email (required); country (required); date of birth (required); title; position; organization; whether Muslim or not; whether Muslim scholar (‘alim) or not; and gender.

Q: May a non-Muslim endorse the ‘Amman Message’?

A: The fact that one of the pieces of information asked in the online endorsement box is whether the endorser is a Muslim or not logically follows that a non-Muslim may endorse the ‘Amman Message’ considering its practical importance and benefits to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Q: How can one invite a friend to join the online endorsement?

A: The website provides a Tell a Friend Script (http://ammanmessage.com/tellafriend/index.php) which will only take a minute to fill up.

Q: How many and who are the prominent Muslim entities from the Philippines that have already endorsed the ‘Amman Message’?

A: Based on the information provided in the ‘Amman Message’ website (http://ammanmessage.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=17&Itemid=31) as of June 1, 2015, there is no prominent Muslim entity yet from the Philippines that has endorsed the ‘Amman Message’.

 

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