Source: Business World Online
An interfaith group has warned that the series of kidnappings is threatening Muslim-Christian relations in Southwestern Mindanao.
The Inter-Religious Solidarity Movement for Peace, a loose movement of Islamic, Protestant and Roman Catholic leaders, said the abductions undermine inter-religious goodwill and solidarity from years of peace-building efforts of civil society.
The group called on increased efforts to promote peacemaking and interfaith dialogue.
"These are indispensable to the ongoing peace process and eventual success of any future settlements or agreements. Without an immediate settlement, they are crucial to the social and economic development of our communities, for our general well-being," the group said in a statement signed by more than 20 religious leaders.
Southwestern Mindanao groups the island-provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. In recent months, there have been more than 15 cases of kidnapping recorded in this part of Mindanao.
Kidnappers, believed to be Abu Sayyaf members or armed groups linked to Abu Sayyaf, are victimizing even ordinary citizens, including humanitarian and health workers, children, students and teachers who are mainly Christians.