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Int’l NGO president talks about misconceptions on Muslims

Julien Marie S. Piñero

WITH THE RECENT bombings by terrorist groups from all over the world, Cihangir “Hans” Arslan, president of Pacific Dialogue Foundation, discussed about Islam and combating extremism cancer in the forum “Interreligious Dialogue” last Feb. 6.

Arslan quoted Fethulla Gulen from an interview in Washington Post about the 9/11 attack. He said, “A terrorist cannot be a Muslim. A Muslim cannot be a terrorist.”

According to Arslan, Islam means “peace, purity, submission and obedience.” He added that if a person wants to learn Islam, one should follow the teachings of Muhammad and read the Quran.

During the forum, Arslan clarified the meaning of “jihad.” He said that the real essence of jihad is trying to fight against carnal desires.

As a Muslim, Arslan fights against ignorance, poverty and conflict in the society.

Merell Recta, a senior high student and one of the viewers was asked if how did she see Muslims after the forum and answered, “We shouldn’t think that Muslims are bad just because our society associates Muslims with terrorism.”

Arslan has been living in Manila since 2003 together with his family. He is the president of Pacific Dialogue Foundation, a non-government organization. They promote charity–economic assistance events. They are the first international NGO who arrived in Tacloban during Typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda.

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