HomeNewsSurvey: Young Filipino Muslims feel discriminated against because of religion

Survey: Young Filipino Muslims feel discriminated against because of religion

Young Filipino Muslims feel that they are being discriminated against because of their religion.

Most of the respondents of a risk perception survey conducted by International Alert among Muslim youth early this year said they feel that they are being discriminated against because of their religion.

The survey was done in a village in the Philippine capital and in the northern city of Baguio during the first quarter of the year.

The survey indicated that 54 percent of young Muslim Filipinos in the village of Maharlika in the city Taguig and 45 percent in the city of Baguio “feel abused because of their religion.”

About 70 percent of the respondents in Taguig and 51 percent in Baguio believe they are “victims of injustice.”

The survey also showed that at least 65 percent of young Muslims in both places agreed that discrimination is widespread in all forms of media.

International Alert released the results of the survey on June 25 as part of a briefer that tackles the Philippines’ proposed anti-terror law.

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The group said there is “systematic discrimination against Muslims” who are “easily branded as terrorists and are prone to discriminatory actions.”

In the briefer, the group cited activities and pronouncements by the government and State forces that “show that they specifically target Muslims when going after terrorists.”

In March, the head of the Manila Police District issued a directive to identify and profile all Muslim students “to counter the violent extremism” in the capital region.

The group criticized the lack of laws and policies that “protect Muslims from discrimination.”

“Bills that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, and religious affiliation have been filed since 2004 in the 13th Congress but none have passed into law,” the group said.

International Alert said wrongful arrests occur because “Muslims are deemed as more likely than the rest of the population to commit violent acts or join terrorist groups.”

“The Anti-Terrorism Bill will only heighten the discrimination against Muslims and other minorities because there are hardly any mechanisms in the bill that safeguard them against the consequences of a discriminatory system,” the group said.

On June 11, at least 250 Muslim lawyers and law students have expressed their “strongest dissent” to the proposed anti-terrorism measures.

In a statement, the group said while they condemn terrorism, they also know that the “overzealous desire to capture the enemy, when sanctioned by law that is bereft of any procedural and substantive safeguards to protect the innocent, is just as dangerous to our lives, liberties, and freedoms.”

“In a legal and social environment that already tolerates de facto warrantless arrests against Moros, this law legalizes it,” the lawyers said.

The lawyers also warned that without any safeguard against unlawful arrest, “state agents will not only be authorized but also emboldened to trample on our freedom.”

“We demand high standards for law enforcement, one that will actively dispense its own role in the protection of the innocent no matter how different they look, talk, or worship,” the statement read.

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