By John Unson
A Lanao del Sur provincial official on Sunday confirmed the rescue of 39 Christians trapped in the crossfire between soldiers and Maute terrorists that laid siege to their village in Marawi City.
Lanao del Sur Vice Gov. Mamintal Adiong, Jr. told The STAR Sunday that the dangerous rescue was initiated by the information officer of the provincial government, Salma Jayne Tamano, who is a Muslim, and her relatives.
“This is a good story of Muslim-Christian unity worth sharing to the whole world,” Adiong said.
Senior Supt. Oscar Nantes, provincial police director, said the 39 evacuees, who had not eaten for days, just lay flat on the floors of houses in the Lilod Madaya and Saduc areas, where they hid for more than 36 hours due to the presence of gunmen in the area.
Nantes said Tamano’s team also rescued two Muslim elders who provided the 39 evacuees sanctuary while firefights erupted in the village.
The hungry rescuees were immediately fed and submitted to evaluation by rehabilitation experts.
Adiong said he is thankful to the Muslim villagers who protected the 39 Christians in the middle of intense gunfights in the area.
More than 100 Christians helped relocate
Myrna Jocelyn Henry, a communication staff of the Humanitarian Emergency Assistance and Response Team (HEART) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, earlier Sunday said that residents of the predominantly Muslim city have facilitated the safe relocation of more than a hundred Christians to safer areas in the past four days.
“The ARMM government is thankful to these Muslim Marawi residents for helping save the lives of non-Muslims. The HEART has facilitated the return of some of them to their respective provinces,” she said.
Henry also said the ARMM’s relief team is also validating the reported rescue by a Muslim state prosecutor of 42 Christians from the campus of a school gunmen set fire to on Friday night.
The prosecutor reportedly gave sanctuary to the 42 Christians in a tall building somewhere in Marawi City and relocated them out in batches.
“We don’t have complete details on how the reported rescue was done. Just the same, we are grateful for the big help. The HEART is ready to extend rehabilitation support to those 42 people,” Henry said.
The recent clashes, which were sparked by a security operation against Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, has led to anti-Muslim sentiment, especially online.
Islam prohibits terrorism
Ironically, ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman had challenged the members of the Abu Sayyaf, Maute group, “lost commands” and other terror groups influenced by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria earlier on May 23 to use the month of Ramadan for reflection.
“I hope they will realize that what they believe (about jihad and terrorism) is not true, and what they do is not right because they will just harm themselves the more because of what they do. They are destroying the lives of others,” Hataman said.
The Regional Darul Ifta’ of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao issued a fatwa, or ruling, in 2015 that “terrorism and mischief cannot be accepted as synonyms for Jihad or one of struggle’s methods because our religion commands us to be compassionate to all beings in the land.”
The council said that “Islam cannot approve criminal and terrorist practices, because attacking innocent people, robbing their money unjustly taking their infallible lives, diffusion terror and fear in the hearts of the faithful persons is forbidden in Islam or in our Islamic law.”
Source: THE PHILIPPINE STAR