Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Reporters on the Job

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Reporters on the Job

Article excerpt

* Meeting at the mall: The key to today's story on the links between militant Filipino converts to Islam and terrorist acts, was talking to an Islamic convert, says correspondent Simon Montlake. So when he met a Muslim activist contact in Manila, he asked her for suggestions.

"She immediately thought of Joey Ledesma and promised to put us in touch," says Simon. "My source had got to know Ledesma last year during a controversy over building a mosque for traders at Greenhills shopping mall in a posh Christian area of Manila. Ledesma had successfully defended the rights of the Muslim worshipers and the mosque was built. I wrote a story for the Monitor last year on the mall mosque, but didn't meet Ledesma at the time.

This time, when Ledesma agreed to meet Simon, the venue was Starbucks at Greenhills mall. Ledesma is a regular at the new mosque, which is close to his family home in the gated community where some voices had opposed the mosque. "I was pleased to hear that the mosque had been open for several months and nothing had sullied the peaceful atmosphere, confounding the doomsayers," says Simon. …

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