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Hello 2010

Updating the family







Largest Gathering of Independent Muslim Religious Leaders Set to Kick-off in Davao

By Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy
January 13, 2010

The largest gathering of independent ulama, Muslim religious leaders, will be held on January 25-29, 2010 at the Waterfront Insular Hotel in Davao City, for the 3rd National Ulama Summit and Regional Conference of Aleemat, or women Islamic scholars. Organized by the Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy (PCID) for the National Ulama Conference of the Philippines (NUCP), the gathering will be attended by around 500 independent ulama and aleemat representing over 200 ulama led organizations, an unprecedented assembly of Muslim religious leaders rarely seen in the country.

The NUCP is a broad aggrupation that includes the majority of all independent ulama organization and federations throughout the country. Its members include some of the most respected Muslim religious leaders and imminent Islamic scholars coming from the five Muslim provinces and the various Muslim communities throughout the nation. According to Amina Rasul, PCID lead convenor, “In today’s world, society demands a wider and more participative role of the ulama that they get involved directly in the transformation or reformation process.”

Dr. Aboulkhair Tarason, an imminent religious leader and NUCP interim chairman said that the summit is a culmination of the NUCP’s organizational evolution into a national network of independent ulama leaders and organizations. The NUCP interim vice chairman, Dr. Hamid Barra, a respected Islamic scholar said that the ulama has a traditional and religious ascendant role of continuing to be the moral beacon for the Muslim faithful. Muslim Mindanao has been in the media eye following the Maguindanao massacre and the spate of kidnappings attributed to the Abu Sayyaf Group in Basilan and Sulu and still reels from a decades-old secessionist conflict between the Moro National Liberation Front, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and government troops. The conflict has displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians and has killed thousands since it started in the 70s.

However, despite numbering in the thousands, the aleem, singular for ulama, has never really been organized into a religious collective similar to the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), or at least into a national network. Although some ulama are enlisted in peace-building efforts these are mostly through government-sponsored peace initiatives. Trailblazing where others have failed, the NUCP nears the goal of organizing a truly national network of independent ulama and aleemat organizations.

The five-day summit is a culmination of a series of summits and regional forums the NUCP has conducted last year. The interim NUCP board will likewise elect its regular members during the summit.

The event is supported by the British and Dutch embassies, The Asia Foundation and the Japan Foundation.