I received this comment on our website from Tomawis Sobair, from the name I presume to be a member of my tribe, a Maranao and a Muslim, which I will share in order to get a sense of the deep emotion that is generated by the MOA on Ancestral Domain issue-
MAKIISA KA NA LANG SA PAKIKIBAKA NG BANGSAMORO DAHIL ANG MGA “KAFIR” LALO NA JAN SA MANILA EH NATUTUWA SILA I’M SURE DAHIL IKAW AT ANG ILANG MUSLIM AY DI NAGKAKASUNDO SA PANANAW. WAG MONG HAHAYAANG MATULAD KA SA ILANG NON-MUSLIM NA ANG ALAM LANG AY MAGING HYPOCRITE TOWARDS MUSLIMS. ANG MGA YAN AY SOBRA PA SA HAYOP NA MAKAMUNDO
The term “kafir” generally means non-muslims but is often used as a derogatory term. If you check Sobair’s other posts, the anger and even hatred is so evident: anger towards me for not supporting the MOA and anger against the media and majority Christian population.
Even without addressing Sobair’s claims, it would be impossible to have a true dialogue when the person that we wish to speak too is too full of hate and anger to see the other persons points calmly and intelligently. And that is what we need – dialogue and not war. I have been against all out war from the beginning even if this clashed with the political views of my principals in the United Opposition. However, how can we dialogue when those like Sobair resort to name-calling and insults? Are name-calling and insults an Islamic way of discussing serious issues?
Sobair, you have to cool down and realize that it is possible that people like me – yes I am a Muslim an as far as I know God did not appoint you or anyone to be able to decide with certainty who is a Muslim and who is not – to disagree with the MOA and have the interests of the Moro people at heart.
My track record speaks for itself that I have consistently advocated for respect for Moros in the media and through my writings. In fact, when I was achieving things like being the first Moro to graduate from Harvard Law School and the first Filipino Muslim to be a University President of a major University in Manila, many Moros embraced me as their own and said that my accomplishments were theirs as well. But now that I have taken a principled stand against the MOA, some Moros treat me like rubbish insulting me and threatening me without even taking the time to scrutinize my position on the matter.
Sobair, you might think that your insults affect me and you would be right but not in the way that you think. Personally, in terms of my own self-esteem and self-worth, insults and threats mean nothing to me – I know who I am and, frankly, I like who I am. But I am affected because I am disappointed in you and others like you who are so quick to judge and so fast to hate.
This for me is the ultimate question – How do you – and Moros like you – hope to build a just and fair society, whether you term it BJE or whatever, when you will not give people like me the democratic space to disagree with you?