“The pastor who thought he could burn the Quran may not have even read it,” said Bedejim Abdullah, Islamic chaplain of the Philippine Military Academy. “Such threats stem from ignorance of the contents of the Islamic scripture, which promotes peace and harmony.”
Abdullah was speaking on September 20 during a meeting with Christian ecumenical leaders, during which they planned Muslim-Christian symposia to promote better understanding between the faiths.
The Muslim chaplain was referring to Terry Jones, who heads the Dove World Outreach Center, a church in the Florida university town of Gainesville. Jones and his tiny congregation threatened to burn the Islamic holy book, but dropped the plan after worldwide condemnation.
The Baguio-Benguet Ecumenical Group, which groups Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Evangelical churches in the northern Philippine city of Baguio City, has invited Abdullah to speak about “Islam as a way of life and as a way to peace” during a symposium set for October 20.
Speaking of the symposium, Abdullah said, “You can ask anything under the sun and I’m ready to be roasted.” He introduced himself as a family man with two wives and six children.
The group has also scheduled a bigger Christian-Muslim public forum in November during the “week of world religions” celebration of the Catholic-run Saint Louis University.
“In the face of all these extremist and unreasonable tendencies, we have to promote dialogue and mutual understanding even within our own ranks,” said Andres Cosalan, a Catholic priest who coordinates the Baguio diocese’s commission on ecumenism.