Monday, 31 January 2011 13:48
By virtue of Republic Act Number 9997, the Office on Muslim Affairs (OMA) was abolished and the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) was created. It amounted to a radical change in the leadership system and the organizational structure. As a break from the one-man rule of OMA, nine commissioners head the NCMF with a Chairperson chosen from among the commissioners as the Chief Executive Officer. As a result, many of the Filipino Muslim ethno-linguistic groups are now represented in the government agency that has the mandate to “preserve and develop the culture, tradition, institutions, and well-being of Muslim Filipinos in conformity with the country’s laws and in consonance with national unity and development.”
The events in Tunisia are sparking a call wave for change in the Middle East. Tunisia’s toppled president, Zine El Abidine Ali, ruled the country with an iron-fist and, as described by Newsweek, a mafia network run by members of his family. For twenty three years, Ben Ali thrived with the support of the United States and many Western countries. He was described as “one of the Bush administration’s most reliable allies in the Global War on Terror. He also played by the economic rules of the International Monetary Fund, embraced globalization, and was rewarded by money and praise for his progressive policies.” It is remarkable that Ben Ali’s downfall began when a young fruit vendor burned himself to death after police seized his fruit cart.
Now, the world is on a deathwatch on the regimes in Egypt, Algeria, and Jordan.
There is an interesting development in the Israel-Palestine peace process. There is a snowballing of support for an independent Palestinian State. First echoed by then US President George W. Bush, many countries in South America have expressed recognition for a Palestine State. The latest country to do so is Russia. While the peace process is stalled and the future looks complex, a state for the Palestinian people may yet come.
The Filipino-Turkish Tolerance School is an important institution for peace-building. It has changed the narrative of getting a good education in the country. It has shown that a Muslim run school can provide quality education.
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