Lanao del Sur 1st District Rep. Zia Alonto Adiong (File photo)

MANILA – Lanao del Sur 1st District Rep. Zia Alonto Adiong on Monday condemned a recent mall event for seemingly disrespecting a sacred site for Muslims and called for “accountability measures” to prevent the incident from happening again.

Adiong said the incident happened Sunday during a pet fashion show and contest organized by a mall in Quezon City where a participant walked into the competition area with a dog carrier decorated to resemble the Kaaba -- a structure that sits in the heart of the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and is the most sacred site for Muslims around the world.

“The Kaaba is widely considered to be the house of Allah, and the Muslim ummah turns towards its direction as they pray and perform the salah every day. Napakalaking pagkakamali na gamitin ang Kaaba bilang props at gawin itong kulungan ng aso, lalo pa na ang event ay wala namang kinalaman sa Islam at pamumuhay naming mga Muslim (It is a huge mistake to use the Kaaba as props and make it into a dog house, especially since the event has nothing to do with Islam and our lives as Muslims),” Adiong said.

“This shows not only a lack of understanding when it comes to our faith that guides our lives, but a complete disregard for our community as Muslims” he added.

Adiong lamented that these seemingly small things are the beginnings of bigger problems that become the source of discrimination and violence against Muslim communities and families.

“Violence is not just the wielding of physical force that leaves scars on another's skin; violence also involves acts that reduce a person and their beliefs into mere spectacle and refusing to make room for understanding and inclusion that is necessary for a just society that upholds the rights of all,” Adiong said.

Adiong called on the mall administration to conduct an investigation regarding the "glaring lapse in cultural sensitivity and the negligence that allowed the act of ignorance to happen."

He also urged the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos to take action in response to the unfortunate incident, and to coordinate with the mall administration to make sure that the incident would never happen again.

“We demand for accountability measures, including a clear and definite commitment to ensure that this will never happen again,” he said.

Hindi ito ang unang pagkakataon na binastos at ipinagsawalang bahala ang aming paniniwala at pamumuhay bilang mga Muslim. Sana ay magtulong-tulong tayo para hindi na ito maulit pa sa ating mga komunidad, at maging daan ito para mas lumalim ang ating pag-unawa at respeto sa ating kapwa (This is not the first time that our faith and lives as Muslims were disrespected and disregarded. I hope that we help each other so that this will not happen again in our communities and lead us towards a deeper understanding and respect for our fellowmen),” Adiong said. (PNA)