World Bulletin / News Desk
The government of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) considered the school to be the largest religious educational facility in the country.
Governor Mujiv Hataman of ARMM inaugurated the school constructed at the cost of P20 million ($401,157) in Sumisip, a former stronghold of Daesh-linked terror group Abu Sayyaf in Basilan province.
Since 1991, the Abu Sayyaf -- armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles -- has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortion in a self-determined fight for an independent province in the Philippines.
"We constructed the Islamic education center for the community to help curb the spread of radicalization," he told reporters in an interview following the inauguration ceremony Monday.
According to Hataman, the infrastructure will not only be used to impart the correct teachings of Islam, but it is also a reformation center, particularly for out-of-school youth who are the potential recruits of terror groups.
"Building more madaris [plural version of the Arabic term "madrasa" for Islamic educational institution] is one of the initiatives to address misinformation about Islam," said the governor, who has been at the forefront in the fight against radicalism.
The school occupies a one-hectare compound with more than 10 classrooms that could accommodate 1,000 college and secondary students.
At least 16 Muslim clerics regularly provide Islamic studies in the school. It also has guest instructors from nearby Isabela City to teach specialized Islamic subjects.
The school would also offer vocational and agri-fishery courses.
The institution is not a simple school, but also a reformation center in Sumisip. It will be replicated in the cities of Lamitan and Isabela, and also in other provinces in the ARMM, he added.
Abdulmuhmin Alyakanie Mujahid, vice-chair of the Basilan Ulama Council, said the establishment of the new Islamic institution will boost the Ulamas’ campaign to renounce the ideology of extremism and radicalism.
“Madrasa education is one of the most effective approaches in saving our young people from the darkness of ignorance and the crudeness of extremism and terrorism," he said.