200 Islamic Leaders Urge Gov't and MILF to Resume Peace Talks

Manila Bulletin, February 3, 2008 | Go to article overview

200 Islamic Leaders Urge Gov't and MILF to Resume Peace Talks


Byline: EDD K. USMAN

Over 200 ulama (Islamic religious leaders) have raised their collective voice for Mindanao's search for peace, urging strongly the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to resume their negotiation that stumbled anew on GRP's reference to "constitutional process."

As this developed, it was learned that Mohagher Iqbal, chairman of the MILF peace panel, is in Malaysia, to see if the talks can resume again.

Eid Kabalu, chief of civil-military affairs of the MILF, said talks facilitator Datuk Abdu Razak Othman, from the office of Malaysian Prime Minister Ahmad Abdullah Badawi, asked Iqbal to come and see GRP's "modified draft proposal" on ancestral domain.

"Our peace panel wants to see if the modified draft on ancestral domain still refers to the Constitution," Kabalu said.

Kabalu welcomed the ulama call for peace, saying it shows the negotiation's importance. "We need the support of every person or group," he said.

A GRP source said government chief negotiator Rodolfo Garcia is also in Malaysia and may be able to see Iqbal.

In any Muslim community, the ulama are highly respected and enjoy wide influence. Over 200 of them signed an eight-point Omnibus Resolution at the close of their First National Ulama Summit of the Philippines on Jan. 28-30 in Manila.

Since the time of the late MILF Chairman Salamat Hashim, the MILF, being a revolutionary organization, has vowed not to accept the Constitution as the talks' parameter. …

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200 Islamic Leaders Urge Gov't and MILF to Resume Peace Talks
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