** NEWS RELEASE *** NEWS RELEASE *** NEWS RELEASE **
Government’s Plan to Tear Down Mosque Provokes Muslims to Fight
08 August 2009. Muslims living near a mosque in Baclaran, Pasay City said they will turn their community into a war zone if the government pushes through with its plan to demolish the mosque to give way for commercial establishments, including casinos.
“Kapag may nasaktan na bata, matanda, at babae, lalaban kami ng patayan,” (If there are children, elderly and women hurt in the demolition, we will fight them to the death) said Abdelmanan Tanandato, leader of Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Nademolis sa Roxas Boulevard.
Tanandato was informed that the muslim community and mosque will be demolished on the first week of August. The plan was later moved to Monday (August 10) “perhaps due to the typhoon and the death of the former President Cory Aquino”.
He said the community is prepared to face the demolition team and they will form a human barricade around the mosque to protect it.
The Task Force Anti-Eviction composed of various people’s organizations and NGOs such as Urban Poor Associates (UPA), Community Organizers Multiversity (COM), and Community Organization of the Philippine Enterprise Foundation (COPE) have asked the government to defer the demolition. “The government should reflect on its plan to pursue the demolition of the mosque now that Ramadan is approaching,” the group said.
Muslims believe that a person is twice saved if he or she dies during Ramadan defending Islam.
“The Muslim people believe it is God’s will that they defend the mosque. The government should allow the Mosque to stay, let it remain amid the infrastructure projects that will be built,” said Ted Añana, deputy coordinator of UPA.
Congressman Leandro Montemayor yesterday sent a letter to Ms. Andrea Domingo, General Manager of Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) to inquire about their position regarding the occupancy status of muslims over this reclaimed property. The objective is to arrive at a peaceful and amicable solution to the problem.
The letter requests PRA to defer the eviction of the Muslim community especially in the light of pending cases at the Pasay City Regional Trial Court and the City Ordinance No. 4411 / moratorium on demolitions.
An international human rights organization based in Geneva, Switzerland, the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), also shared their concern about the imminent forced eviction of the Baclaran mosque community. They visited the community in 2007 and have followed the case closely since then.
“COHRE has already raised this case with the government of the Philippines and at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, and will again be writing to the relevant Philippine authorities in order to urge them to respect their obligations under international human rights law,” said Dan Nicholson, Asia Pacific programme coordinator of COHRE. -30-