Muslim Population Lives in Fear of Police Harassment

April 7, 2004

Source: Yahoo! News

On April 7, 2004 Yahoo! News posted an Agence France Presse article that reported, "Most Muslims in the Philippines capital these days try to make it home before nightfall to avoid what they describe as unprovoked, systematic harassment by the security forces. Most of the city's 400,000 Muslims are used to being harassed by police, but over the past two weeks it has become more intense following the recent arrests of six alleged Abu Sayyaf terrorists in Manila. 'If we are not being accused of running drugs, we are accused of kidnapping,' said Charlie De Makuta, a trustee of the Islamic Centre in Quiapo, just across the river from Malacanang Palace and the seat of Philippine power...Yussuff Usman, who works at the mosque, believes there is more behind the crackdown on Manila's Muslims. 'What we would like to know is who is behind this campaign of intimidation,' he said. 'All over Manila you find Muslims are being systematically harassed by the police and security forces. There is no reason for it. Muslim business leaders are harassed because they have money. So businessmen make sure they get back before nightfall ... we all try to do this. We have lived with harassment over the years but over the last two weeks it has intensified and the people are frightened. There is a lot of unease at the moment.'"