Senator Risa Hontiveros has asked the public not to “stoke the flames of Islamophobia” as reports of discrimination against Muslims who have been displaced from the conflict in Marawi City surfaced.
“I appeal to the public not to stoke the flames of Islamophobia. Discrimination breeds hate. It builds walls. It sustains unjust wars,” Hontiveros said in a statement on Monday, June 26.
The senator urged government agencies to look into reports that a number of Maranaos have complained of discrimination.
Some house and apartment owners in nearby provinces have refused to rent out their properties after learning that they were Muslims.
“The Duterte government must ensure that the well-being of all internally displaced persons are taken care of, including their protection from all forms of discrimination. They have suffered so much. Let us not add to their pain,” she said.
While she understands the security concerns of the people, Hontiveros warned them not to mistake discrimination for vigilance.
“This is the time for unity and solidarity. Amid these challenging times, we should not give in to our fears and prejudice. Let us not play into the script of the Maute terrorists, who want to sow fear and hate between Christians and Muslims,” Hontiveros said.
The ongoing firefight in Marawi has claimed the lives of 28 civilians. Meanwhile, a total of 69 government troops have died while 280 members of the Maute group were killed since the May 23 crisis.