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By Arnold "AJ" Garbanzos

I used to hear my journalism teacher say, “If a dog bites a man that is not news but when a man bites a dog then that is news”.

Similarly when a Christian helps a Christian that is not news, but when a Christian helps a Muslim and vice versa then that is news.

As an Iliganon I often hear of stories about how Muslims treat Christians and how Christians treat Muslims. And more often than not it talks of how each other treat each other unfairly or unrigtheously and that seems to be the norm-and therefore it is not news.

But if I will outline below three real life instances when Muslims treat Christians with kindness, then am sure that will be treated as news by many. So here goes...

Story number 1:

This story was related to me by a Sendong survivor. At the height of the floods when Barangay Santiago was submerged in water and it was in pitch darkness (because electricity was down) they were forced to abandon their house because it was already swallowed by the waters.

While they were escaping the waters, my friend told me that he was on the street with his children-there were three. One he carried on his arms while the other two were walking behind him as he lead them out of the darkness on hip deep waters. While they were navigating the darkness in the presence of incessant rains, he requested his children to sing Gospel songs and call upon the name of God to save them out of the impending disaster.

While they were walking in pitch black darkness, singing the songs for the Lord, they heard a voice called out to them and said, “ move this way, come up- its higher ground”. So following the voice-the father move in the direction they were instructed and they were save-the entire family by a Maranao family who gave them food to eat and warm blankets.

Story number 2:

This is the story of two Pastors who had a motorcycle accident during their college years-taking up Theology. They were bloodied on the road-one of them could barely move because of a broken leg, while the other had a broken arm. It was around 3 in the afternoon.

As many cars passed and whizzed by, many of whom would stop and looked at them and sped away while they cry out for help-but not one was kind enough to help them.

Then suddenly a car stop and opened its doors and rushed them to the hospital for immediate medication. The car that stop and cared for them was driven by a Maranao.

Story number 3:

The third instance was during the Kolambugan siege of 2008 when a group of renegade rebel soldiers raided the town. A group of Christians was saved from them when Maranao brothers (who were true Muslims) called out to them and hid them at their Mosque. When the rogue soldiers passed by and asked if they have seen any Christians-the Maranao Brothers answered back, “None!” Thus saving the lives of the Christian brothers.

These three stories will tell you that there is real peace drama happening between Muslim and Christian brothers in Lanao. It is therefore erroneous to conclude that all Muslims are bad, in a similar manner it is also unjustified to say that all Christians are bad.

All the characters involved in the three stories are all alive and well and we can all ask them first hand of the stories I have shared. As a matter of fact story number 3 has a video and is documented.

I hope more stories of “real” news like this gets circulated all over Mindanao specially in Lanao.

It is time to end these senseless cycle of violence and war. The lessons of 5 centuries should be enough to teach us that war is never the answer to the Mindanao problem.

I hope agencies like MINDA, the OPAPP and the all the LGUs of Mindanao start documenting stories like this and let it go on mass circulation all over the country. It will make our lives easier and make Mindanao progress by leaps and bounds.

Teach our children the right values and stop these media pitching for the “terror plot” makers.

Also I would suggest that the NCMF circulate the life story of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and share the good deeds he has done for the Arab nations-specially the Christian and Jewish brethren. Many Christians do not know who he was and why the Islamic world consider him as a Prophet or a Rasul. As far as I understand he was a man who love God/Allah tremendously. Making 114 poems on love for Allah or God (which is what the Surahs or the Chapters of the Koran is all about) is no mean feat. It was only him who has done this and no man has equalled it until today.

If you want to have a parallel life of the Prophet in the Bible, study the life of King David-the Psalmist and Prophet King of Israel. Then you will understand the life of the Prophet of Islam. Both their lives were not perfect but only one thing distinguishes them from all the ordinary people of this world-both love God/Allah with all their heart, with all their soul and with all their strength.

Again as a I always say, “the bread is always mightier than the sword” and much cheaper too. May there be peace in Mindanao. the new ranao star
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