"Watch out for Muslims" | A Canadian foreigner ponders on Filipino Christian towards Muslim interactions, Unjust Fixation or Generalization? - The Daily Sentry

Sunday, July 22, 2018

"Watch out for Muslims" | A Canadian foreigner ponders on Filipino Christian towards Muslim interactions, Unjust Fixation or Generalization?



A 29-year old Canadian under the Facebook blog name “BecomingFilipino”post. Image credit to Facebook/Becoming Filipino
A 29-year old Canadian under the Facebook blog name “BecomingFilipino” started wondering why it is so prominent for people of the North to leave comments or sentiments about Muslims in this specific manner, “Watch out for Muslims…”

It is reminded to him constantly in a way that makes an outsider like him sense some kind of unjust stigma or a negative generalization towards the religious group of people. But he begs to differ, turning the tables positively by telling us a story and taking the advice in another light.

Image credit to Facebook/Becoming Filipino
The story starts off with,

“Here I was in Basilan, an area of the Philippines that unfortunately has had to deal with isolated extremism. Because of this and being a foreign national, I found myself with an armed escort as I explored the island. Do you need this if you are a Filipino and wish to visit? No. Was having a whole group of armed personnel around me the whole time probably a little overkill? Yes. But I understand they just wanted to 100% insure my safety. Yes, these local armed officers stayed with me at all times... because they cared about me, and care about their island.

I say "their island" because they were all local Yakan or Tausug, who call this part of the Philippines home. All of them, were Muslim. Yes, these amazing PNP officers were dedicating their lives to fighting extremism... they were all Muslim. Over the course of the three days I was with them, we became good friends. Every time I shook their hands, they placed them on their hearts, every time I made ridiculous jokes, they laughed with me... (check the photo of us all "pretending to pee" off the dock... Classic Filipino Humor!!)”

Image credit to Facebook/Becoming Filipino

Image credit to Facebook/Becoming Filipino
Image credit to Facebook/Becoming Filipino
He then emphasized that the Muslims have never discriminated a non-Muslim like him,

                “These amazing Filipino Muslims, openly knowing I am not Muslim, were never discriminating... but instead, they were putting their lives on the line just to help.”

He was even taken with good care, sacrificing a hat in the midst of hard rain showers in order to prevent him from getting sick.

These gestures, this humanity that seems be fading in every Filipino the closer one gets to the Capital, is unique and something that the foreigner would “watch out for…” since these brave men are risking their lives every day, fighting extremists who are fellow Muslims and braving discrimination brought about by shitty journalism that angled the entire religious group wrong.

Read full post below:

"Watch out for Muslims..."

If you have been following me over the past 4.5 years here, you will know I have been all over the Philippines. It has been quite the adventure... one full of beauty, inspiration and endless amounts of learning!

But speaking of that... I have also found myself having reoccurring moments of interaction here in the Philippines that have made me upset. It saddens me the thousands of times I have spoken with Filipinos, informed them I live in Mindanao, and be met with the response:

"Watch out for Muslims!" - Spoken in the most intense, negative, and serious way.

The word "Muslim" really gets attached to extreme negativity here a lot, and openly spoken about that way as well. I find it so sad. But, inspired by this sadness, I want to share with you a simple story from two weeks ago...

Here I was in Basilan, an area of the Philippines that unfortunately has had to deal with isolated extremism. Because of this and being a foreign national, I found myself with an armed escort as I explored the island. Do you need this if you are a Filipino and wish to visit? No. Was having a whole group of armed personnel around me the whole time probably a little overkill? Yes. But I understand they just wanted to 100% insure my safety. Yes, these local armed officers stayed with me at all times... because they cared about me, and care about their island.

I say "their island" because they were all local Yakan or Tausug, who call this part of the Philippines home. All of them, were Muslim. Yes, these amazing PNP officers were dedicating their lives to fighting extremism... they were all Muslim. Over the course of the three days I was with them, we became good friends. Every time I shook their hands, they placed them on their hearts, every time I made ridiculous jokes, they laughed with me... (check the photo of us all "pretending to pee" off the dock... Classic Filipino Humor!!)

These amazing Filipino Muslims, openly knowing I am not Muslim, were never discriminating... but instead, they were putting their lives on the line just to help.

Now I want you to look at the photo of the head of our security group Sir Aguam giving me his hat. Yes, not only was he putting his life on the line to help fight extremism in the Philippines, but this amazing Muslim would even sacrifice his own hat... just to help me stay dry from a sudden rain shower.

Whenever I hear someone use the word "Muslim" in a negative tone, I will always think about these guys in Basilan. Who are all Muslim, who are all on the front lines of fighting extremism, and who are all beautiful human beings. Should I "watch out for Muslims?" absolutely... I'll try to watch out for them...

So I can go shake their hands and place mine on my heart in return.

#BecomingFilipino

So watch out for Muslims for they may be the kindest people that you’ll meet. And let your generalizations and unjust fixations sink below your feet.

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