Philippines police push for Muslim ID cards as counter-terrorism measure

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As a result of the recent terrorists attacks in Philippine, police authorities have requested for the usage of identification cards for Muslims. They believed that the usage of ID cards will help to fish out some terrorist attackers in the country.

In addition, it has been stated that police from a region in the majority-Christian Philippines are considering issuing mandatory identification cards to thousands of Muslims living there – a proposal Human Rights Watch condemned as “collective punishment”.

Reports confirmed that the act in is widely rejected while some authorities feel it is the best way to combat terrorism. Speaking with Kehinde Adio, a concerned mind said:

” the constitution of the country states that all religious beliefs should be respected equally. Why should they push the Muslims to use ID cards?”

Also, a Christian scholar, Oyedokun Olumide reacted saying that the terrorists religion is unclear to everyone and that there is no need to punish the Muslims for it:

“They certainly don’t know the religion the terrorists are practicing, and that’s also like violating the human right of the Muslims amongst them.”

Further more, the issue was discussed at a meeting between police, military and political figures and about 200 Muslim religious and community leaders at the provincial capitol building, according to news outlet Rappler. However, Chief Superintendent Aaron Aquino said the ID cards would allow authorities to identify and weed out undesirable individuals and terrorists.

In confirmation of the ID being implemented successfully in some areas, he said the system had already been implemented in the town of Paniqui “and we want this to be replicated in all Muslim communities in the whole region for easy and efficient identification of our Muslim brothers and sisters”.

Also, reports confirmed that Government forces have been questioning the city of Marawi in the south for nearly two months after local militant factions, who claim allegiance to Isis, rampaged through and took control. President Rodrigo Duterte has imposed martial law across Mindanao and had to apologise after blaming the residents of Marawi by saying they allowed Isis sympathisers to stay.

In reaction to the I D card usage, Human Rights Watch said authorities were threatening to “single out Muslims” with ID cards, violating the rights to equal protection of the law and freedom of movement. It further said that“Requiring Muslim-only IDs in response to a perceived failure of Muslims to prevent Islamist fighters from entering Marawi City is a form of collective punishment,” the New York-based advocacy group said in a statement.

The statement added that some Muslim leaders present at the meeting not rejecting outright the compulsory ID cards were “irrelevant from a rights perspective” for the roughly 26,000 Muslims living in Central Luzon region. “ID requirements for Muslims should be rejected outrightly.”

Similarly, a concerned Muslim, Zeenat Shittu reacted by saying that Muslims are peaceful people and so the terrorists for sure can not be muslims and that the issue of I D cards should be used across all the existing religions in the country:

“muslims are not terrorists, so why should this kind of treatment be for only the Muslims? If they really want to fight terrorism then they should make it a general rule for all and not just the muslims.”