It is not uncommon to read about Christian-Muslim clashes in the national papers. In fact, most people have gotten used to them that they do not really bother to know the issues behind these confrontations, and worse, readers tend to have biased presumptions of which party is to blame. More often than not, our Muslim brothers are pointed as the culprits whether or not there is proof to their guilt. To add to the increasing animosity between these two big religions, media sometimes sensationalizes the story by making it look as if it was always a good versus evil scenario.
In his essay entitled Muslim-Christian Relations in the Philippines, Prof. Datu Amulusin A. Jumaani wrote:
How the prejudices and discrimination are dyed fast in the national fabric is pretty much evident in the way the words Muslim and Islam have been used, as there are events or issues that directly bear upon the Muslims, individually or collectively.
The caution that was raised in the indiscriminate use of the word Muslim or Islam in media reports and other write-ups is now being abandoned. The stereotype concepts on Muslim and Islam are once again reinforced as the media tell tales of the encounters with the MILF and the Abu Sayyaf. Extremist, fundamentalist, secessionist, rebel, lost command, gangster, terrorist, smuggler, hold-upper, kidnapper are prefixed with the word Muslim or Islam, projecting the Muslims all the more as unreasonable, barbaric and violent. Whether this is a deliberate and conscious act or not, it is clear to have a presumption that there is a hint at a sloganeering or labeling to rally once again the Christians against the Muslims with regard to the outbreak of hostilities in Muslim Mindanao between the armed forces and the Muslim groups. In the South, another chapter in...