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Christianity and Islam in the Search for Peace in Southern Philippines

This study attempts to critically analyze the role that Christianity and Islam have played in the search for peace in Mindanao as represented by various Christian and Islamic religious organizations which have been deeply involved in the Mindanao peace process since postcolonial era up to the present. The study seeks to identify common values and principles of peace and justice inherent to Christianity and Islam which could be harnessed toward the establishment of a shared theological and political agenda, upon which, cooperation and collaborative works for peace and development in Mindanao could be anchored. Analysis of the socio-economic, political, religious, and cultural context reigning in Mindanao as well as the role that Christianity and Islam have played in the peace process is made from the perspective of a Christian and Islamic theology of liberation. To achieve this purpose, the study employs three methodological approaches namely: socio-analytical approach; hermeneutical approach and; practical approach, findings of which have provided a much deeper and broader understanding of the context and the roots and causes of the Mindanao conflict, and the milieu in which faith and praxis and the whole peace process itself must operate. The study employs a dialogical model of interpretation, which takes into account specific themes and texts which are central to the teachings of the Bible and the Qu’ran and in the understanding of Christian and Islamic concepts of peace and justice as well as in identifying common theological and political agenda for peace in Mindanao. The study has identified at least five areas of theological and political convergence between Christianity and Islam which can be harnessed toward the formulation and establishment of a peace project in Mindanao that is historically and contextually relevant. As shown in the study, the roots and causes of conflict in Mindanao is rather complex than simple. Thus, it requires no single explanation or solution to the problem. Not discounting the significant contributions that the previous peace initiatives have made in the peace process, the study proceeds to suggest three political programs for lasting and genuine peace in Mindanao, namely: Economic; Cultural and; Political restructuring and transformation.

Key Words: Inter-Religious Dialogue, Mindanao Conflict, Theology of Religion, Muslim-Christian Interaction