Mindanao-based and Southeast Asian peacebuilding and solidarity non-government organization Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) and the Marawi Advocacy Accompaniment (MAA) today jointly condemned the  deadly bombing that ripped through a religious mass service at the Mindanao State University in Marawi City on Sunday that left eleven  people killed and reportedly injured 45 civilians. 

Media reports said that an  ISIL (ISIS) group has already claimed responsibility for the bombing through instant-messaging service Telegram where ISIS said, “The soldiers of the caliphate detonated an explosive device on a large gathering of Christians in the city of Marawi.”

IID executive director Gus Miclat said, “We are one with the world in condemning this bombing attack on peaceful worshippers in Marawi the same way we abhor the ongoing staggering massacre of Arabs and Muslims in Palestine. Nothing could justify this senseless violence especially if such violence is carried out at the expense of innocent civilians. We are calling on all peace loving citizens of the world to extend greater solidarity with the people of Marawi in this moment of mourning.” 

Miclat explained, ”Marawi is still traumatized trying its very best to get back on its feet from the equally tragic Marawi siege six years ago. This horrific attack is not only unjust but pure evil and represents a serious threat to the full realization of the Bangsamoro peace process.”

In the light of the bombing incident, a Meranaw leader and professor at the Marawi State University and one of civil society leaders of MAA, Tirmizy Abdullah cautioned not to exploit Marawi and Muslim communities. 

Abdullah said, “Marawi and other Muslim communities in Southern Philippines are being used to sow seeds of hatred. We should collectively recognize and reject these efforts to exploit our community. It’s crucial not to fall prey to the manipulative tactics of religious conflict. We must resist the urge to engage in divisive responses.” 

Abdullah explained that the Mindanao State University in Marawi has been a community fostering interfaith dialogue and cooperation among students, teachers, and employees, irrespective of backgrounds.

He said, “The people of Marawi City continue to grapple with the lingering trauma from the Marawi Siege. This recent bombing only adds to the challenges faced in the process of healing and rebuilding. We urge solidarity and cooperation among all members of the community to strive for a future free from violence and conflict.”

Miclat added, “We extend our deepest and heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families. At the same time, we call on the Philippine government to remain steadfast in its commitment to the Bangsamoro peace process. We should all stay the course for peace.” 

The IID executive director stressed, “This is the most appropriate moment where the Philippine government’s platform and slogan of unity could be translated into tangible action. Let us unite for peace and resilience, and intensify our collective peacebuilding efforts to heal the wounds of war and armed-conflict in Mindanao.” 

Miclat explained, ”A louder call for peace coupled with delivering genuine social justice and basic services must address the roots of armed-conflicts that continue to jeopardize the future of the peoples of Mindanao. For us, the best way to push back violence is to put forward a concrete mechanism for peace with social justice.”  IID lastly called on the government to provide immediate humanitarian assistance for the victims and families of the Marawi blast. ###

For inquiries: 09613567397 or email gani.abunda@iidnet.org