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Pakighinabi calls for unity amid diversity

University Pres. Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ led this school year’s first Pakighinabi session held yesterday, June 21 at the Pakighinabi Room of the newly- inaugurated Ricci Hall Dialogue Center, 3rd floor of the Community Center of the First Companions, which centered on the discussion about the Diversity and Freedom of Religions.

Administrators, faculty, staff, visitors, representatives from the Ateneo Muslim community, college and senior high school students actively participated during the conversation. Fr. Tabora, as the lead discussant, highlighted some lines of Pope Francis, stating that presently, there is a world war being fought piecemeal. Moreover, he emphasized the importance of religious freedom.

“Religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person. The human person has a right to religious freedom. All men are to be immune from coercion,” Tabora said.

On the other hand, Datu Mussolini Lidasan, director of AdDU’s Al Qalam Institute, explained some important concepts in the religion of Islam. He also expressed his opinions on the issues concerning religious extremism and its root cause. In addition to this, Jorjani Sinsuat, president of SALAM, the Ateneo Muslim Society urged everyone, not just the student government and his colleagues, but the entire administration as well to accept and embrace the identity of our Muslim brothers and sisters.

“Our opinions will remain opinions until we have a common identity. This is our call,” he expressed.

Althea Dannia Esmael, project coordinator of Salaam Movement, wanted to recognize three points namely the concept of jihad, the role of the clergy education & guided information and the importance of engagement.

“We need to understand really what pluralism is. It is a reality that there is no single or uniform belief in this world. It is very impossible to have only one idea or belief but it is very possible to foster acceptance, acknowledgement and tolerance to peacefully co-exist with one another. There should be engagement with diversity based on respect of differences,” Esmael suggested.

Renz Lacorte from the Senior High School department challenged the administration to elevate the learning instruction on a context or language that is suitable, sufficient and relevant to the learners.

“We can be machinery that will not breed false ideology, but will produce compassionate leaders or persons who can counter and address this pressing issue and who can make changes strong enough to matter,” Lacorte stated.

The Pakighinabi series is the University’s venue of shared discernment on critical issues using a multi-disciplinary approach where opinions of any kinds are heard, critical thinking is valued and the gift of collegiality is cherished.

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