On why discrimination hinders peace | from the Story Box

For Sittie Rheham Farouq, a college student and emerging young leader from General Santos City, discrimination is a peace and security issue that she observes in the community.  

“Discrimination has been in the past, present and will be in the future if no serious action is taken. Discrimination in any way overmatches peace, development, and justice, not just to people but also to the community and yet it is still taken lightly. This is mainly caused by misconceptions people have. You would always hear something about the Muslims and Indigenous People that makes them unacknowledged,” shared Rheham.  

Growing up, Rheham has seen different forms of discrimination thrown against people of different tribes and religious affiliations. May it be a confrontation directed to another person or indirectly made and heard against the other. For her (Rheham), these could stir up hate and can be a starting point of conflict especially among the tri-people living in the same community.  

A serious matter like this concerns the young minds like Rheham. On why this issue should be understood and addressed, Rheham answered, “It [discrimination] restricts people to show their culture and capabilities and would just think how to be accepted in the community. Instead of helping one another to achieve peace, people tend to downgrade. It somehow limits progress of the community in all aspects since its people do not act harmoniously with one another.” 

Rheham believes that little by little and with (our) unified efforts, these acts of discrimination will transform into understanding and acceptance. Furthermore, providing awareness, equal opportunities and being able to participate in interfaith dialogues are some potential solutions.  

“As a youth, I would be a role model to help people flourish in their own beautiful and kind ways. I would also be one in the front rows to advocate for peace and development in the community. Strengthening the bond between the people and the community would be an exciting and inspiring journey to be a part of.”  

Rheham is one of the 12 young leaders in Mindanao who recently completed the OURmindaNOW Tech Camp in December 2020. During the Tech Camp’s Storybox Session, she highlighted discrimination as one of the pressing issues in her community. By stepping into her power to be part of the greater solution, Rheham looks forward to a more peaceful and inclusive Mindanao. 

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