Abu Dhabi, 09-11 December 2019 — Al Haj Ahod ‘Murad’ Ebrahim (Chief Minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) and Bishop Efraim Tendero (Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance), were honored by H.E. Dr. Mohammad Al Kaabi (Chairman of the Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments, UAE), and H.E. Abdallah bin Mahfudh ibn Bayyah (President of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies) for their inter-faith peacebuilding contributions in southern Philippines. The awards were presented before the 500+ political, religious, and civil society leaders from 80 countries during the 6th Assembly of the Forum for Promoting Peace, The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
The Sixth Assembly of the Forum for Promoting Peace, according to the Conference brochure, was “the gathering of participants from the highest level of scholarship, government and civil society across the Muslim world, and of our brothers and sisters from other faiths.” The general purpose of the Forum is “to provide a platform to advance the core concepts of peace around the world”; and, to “enable this Assembly to focus its efforts on changing the world for good.”
On the second day of the Conference, during the signing of a document called “New Alliance of Virtue: A Charter for Global Peace,” Bishop Tendero (Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance) shared the contributions of the 600 million-member global alliance he represents towards global peace. Then, he proceeded to share the experience of the evangelicals in the Philippines as they sought to contribute to the Peace Process between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). “In my home country of the Philippines,” Bishop Tendero reported, “we have successfully moved from possibility to necessity in promoting tolerance.” After his brief sharing, he introduced Chief Minister Al Haj Ahod Ebrahim (Chief Minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao), who is a principal part of our Philippine delegation.
Here’s a video of those moments, courtesy of the Office of the Chairman of the Central Committee, Moro Islamic Liberation Front:
Based on my discussions with some Islamic scholars during the lunch after the testimonials of Chief Minister Ebrahim and Bishop Tendero, I learned that the experience of the dialogical relationship between the Filipino evangelical Christians and the Bangsamoro is a significant case of peacebuilding, tolerance, and reconciliation.
The testimonies of the two Filipino peacebuilding leaders made so much impact. The organizers of the Forum decided to honor and recognize them on the following day. H.E. Dr. Mohammad Al Kaabi (Chairman of the Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments, UAE), and H.E. Abdallah bin Mahfudh ibn Bayyah (President of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies) presented each of them a Plaque of Recognition and Appreciation for demonstrating inter-faith cooperation in advancing tolerance, peace, and reconciliation.
The Forum believes that “peace is the true guarantor of human rights, for no right can exist without there being sufficient social harmony to establish the five universal principles enshrined in the Sharia: the preservation of religion, life, intellect, wealth and honour.”
His Excellency Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah established the Forum for Promoting Peace in 2014, under the generous patronage of His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, United Arab Emirates.
Foundational Principles of New Alliance of Virtue
- HUMAN DIGNITY. All people, irrespective of their diverse races, religions, languages, and ethnicities, by virtue of the divine soul breathed into them, are endowed with dignity by their Omnipotent Creator.
- FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE AND RELIGION OR BELIEF. There is no compulsion in religion. It is the responsibility of the state to protect religious freedom, including diversity of religions, which guarantees justice and equality among all members of society.
- TOLERANCE. The beliefs of others must be legally protected and culturally respected; differences should be seen as a source of enrichment, not conflict.
- JUSTICE. Justice and equity are the foundation of all human interaction, while charity towards others remains the more virtuous and fitting path.
- PEACE. Except for self defense or the defense of innocents, violence should be rejected, whether on the individual or state level (war), and an adherence to all peaceful means to resolve conflicts among individuals or groups maintained.
- MERCY. Mercy is the central means to achieve the divine covenant of faith, truth, and charity: “Whoever shows no mercy to others deprives himself of God’s mercy to him.” “God shows mercy to those who are merciful.”
- KINDNESS. Such kindness toward others should make no distinction between kith, kin, or strangers, whether the deeds resulted from familial bonds or selfless concern for others.
- KEEPING COVENANTS. The most consequential of duties is that of fulfilling contracts and covenants, as it assures security and social harmony.
- SOLIDARITY. Solidarity expresses an existential identification with and commitment to the well-being of the other.