September 19, 2018 (10:17 AM)

2 min read


CONVERSATION. School administrators, faculty and students convene in a round-table discussion on “The Human Person: Subject of Religious Freedom” with Fr. Felix Koerner, S.J. as the lead discussant. Photo by Charlotte Billy Sabanal

To converse on the meaning of faith and the human person in light of the Bangsamoro Government, a discussant-led dialogue was held at the Calungsod-San Vitores Collaboration Center, 11F CCFC Building last Sept. 17, 2018.

Mr. Lunar Fayloga, theology department chair, laid out the abstract of the Pakighinabi discussant by stating that the speaker will answer whether the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) is credible, faithful to religion in general, and to Islam in particular.

Fr. Felix Körner, a Jesuit professor of Catholic Theology and Islamic Studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, cited how religious freedom should not be exclusive.

“If people of one particular religion should be free to believe and worship, all humans beings of whatever religious view should be free to have, practice and propagate their conviction,” Körner remarked.

As a member of the Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims, Körner discussed how the Qur’an also gives emphasis on religious freedom.

“One verse of the Qur’an speaks of religious diversity wanted by God. The Qur’an presents coercions related to faith as contradictory to faith. [It] presupposes that people are free,” Körner said.

Körner also added that Muslim polities were more welcoming to other religions compared to Jewish and Christian polities.

Reactors to the discussion of Körner gave their own input into the discussion.

Datu Mussolini Sinsuat Lidasan of the Al Qalam Institute emphasized on the challenge the BOL would face.

“The BOL recognizes the freedom of religion, but the challenge here is for people to follow the spirit of the law. Some quarters, like the LGBT, wonder if their rights will be respected under the BOL. It is a challenge.”

Mr. Jess Figuracion, Jr., from Soka Gakkai International, shared his own views as a Buddhist and how he sees that human rights can pave the way towards better understanding.

“The UN Declaration of Human Rights is its greatest gift to humanity. As a Buddhist, we almost forget the hard power—the use of physical force. Now is the time for soft power, so everyone can have understanding,” Figuracion shared.

Ustadz Janor Balo of the Islamic Studies further added to the point that Islam does not proselytize but rather recognized religious freedom.

“Islam endorses and proclaims that God created people in the natural state—the state of freedom. There shall be no compulsion in religion,” Balo remarked.

End the silence of the gagged!

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