Tag Archive | "Islam"

CCF Executive Pastor dresses up as Arabic suicide bomber for Church Christmas party


CCF Executive Pastor Ricky as Arabic suicide bomber

CCF Executive Pastor Ricky Sarthou poses as an Arabic suicide bomber with another CCF Pastor Ickhoy de Leon

(December 20, 2014 Update Below)

For their Christmas party this year, Christ’s Commission Fellowship Executive Pastor Ricky Sarthou dressed up in traditional Arabic garments. The twist, however, is that strapped to his chest was a mock explosive device.

The Executive Pastor of one of the country’s largest Christian churches chose the outfit for their Church’s party’s theme, “Heroes and Villains.” The photo shown here is a screen-capture of a now-deleted post on Instagram by Ickhoy de Leon, another CCF Pastor. Along with a mock improvised explosive device, Pastor Sarthou can be seen in the photo wearing the traditional Arabic headdress called a keffiyeh.

While the intentions for dressing up in the costume may have been innocent, what message does it send for a high-ranking official in a Christian church to portray a violent stereotype of another religion?

Update (December 20, 2014): On the comments section of this article, a person claiming to relay the words of pastors from the CCF said the following.

“From Pastors Fenix of CCF: Good day everyone, since the post of Filipino Freethinkers has gone viral I would like to encourage everyone to be loving, prayerful & sober–keeping our emotions in check. ptr Ricky has sent a letter of apology to the CCF leadership & staff for going to the party as BIN LADEN. Ickhoy has also sent his letter of apology for posting the original pic on his instagram. I would like encourage everyone not to react or rebutt esp on social media bec that is what FF wants. Have a blessed Christmas.”

Posted in Religion, SocietyComments (66)

FF Podcast 52 (Audio): Sam Harris vs Ben Affleck on Islam


FF Podcast 52 - Sam Harris vs Ben Affleck on Islam

Ben Affleck faced off Sam Harris in a discussion about Islam and prejudice in Bill Maher’s talk show. How is Islam related to extremism? This week, we talk about criticism of Islam and how liberals tend to discuss Islam.

You may also download the podcast file here.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

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FF Podcast 52: Sam Harris vs Ben Affleck on Islam


How is Islam related to extremism? This week, we talk about criticism of Islam and how liberals tend to discuss Islam.

You may also download the podcast file here.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Posted in Podcast, Religion, Society, VideoComments (1)

Freddie Aguilar and Special Rights for Muslims


The matter of 60-year-old musician Freddie Aguilar’s marriage to his 16-year-old girlfriend has courted a firestorm of both defenders and critics. Indeed, the knee-jerk reaction to an intimate relationship with such an age gap would often be disgust. Granted, such initial feelings are seldom rational, given their strong emotional motivation. What Aguilar defenders seem to miss, however, is that there is much more cause for concern here than just the private relationship of a public figure. Exempting themselves from secular Philippine law, Aguilar has decided to convert to Islam, despite describing himself as a “born-again Catholic,” to marry his underage girlfriend.

Negative reactions to Aguilar are commonly rebuffed by pointing out the shallow and tabloid nature of the issue. This defense is only supported by the crass and insipid nature of Aguilar critics painting him as a pedophile or a “dirty old man.” Both apologists for Aguilar and his detractors completely miss the far more nefarious implications of Aguilar’s marriage.

However simplistic it may be, Philippine law requires that marriage involve persons aged 18 and above. Given this, Aguilar and his lover have chosen to enjoy the special laws and privileges given to Filipino Muslims by Ferdinand Marcos’ Presidential Decree 1083—the Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines.

This special law so deeply controverts the Constitution’s principle of secularism that it overbearingly points out that “The provisions of this Code shall be applicable only to Muslims and nothing herein shall be construed to operate to the prejudice of a non-Muslim.” Not only that, should any conflicts (such as those regarding marriage and divorce) arise between secular law and this special law, the Code shall prevail and that secular laws should be “liberally construed” in order to accomplish the provisions of the Code. The Code establishes special Shari’a courts that are appointed to adjudicate and mete out the appropriate punishment for violations of Islamic laws, as recognized by the Code. Between a Constitution that declares that “No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights” and a law that literally requires belief in Islam, something has to give. Unsurprisingly, in the good old Republic of the Philippines, religious privilege wins out.

Among other provisions, the Code also includes the sexist decree—a belief shared by Catholic opponents of the RH Law—that it is the male in a heterosexual marriage that must exercise authority over the family: “In case of disagreement, the father’s decision shall prevail unless there is a judicial order to the contrary.”

Non-Catholics in the Philippines have long suffered under the tyrannical majority of the Catholic Church and these special rights for Muslims are, ironically, a side effect of this tyranny. While masking as benevolence, these special rights are rooted in the same xenophobic entitlement as the common patronizing expression, “mga kapatid nating Muslim (our Muslim brothers).” This saying paints Muslims automatically separate in any discussion.

Instead of fully recognizing the diversity of religious belief and non-belief, the Philippine state instead split the baby and framed much of our laws under Catholic prejudice, while creating these special exemptions for Muslims—leaving everyone else out of the social contract. This flies in the face of any expectation of justice and the belief, however naive or clichéd, that the law applies to all, or none at all.

The secularist indignation against Aguilar is only inflated by just how insincere Aguilar seems to be in his conversion. It’s bad enough for one religion to enjoy rights not afforded to all Filipinos. Here we have what appears to be the disingenuous and opportunistic exploitation of an already unjust and backward legal system.

Image Credit: Christopher Sundita

Posted in Religion, Secularism, SocietyComments (2)

FF Podcast (Audio) 020: “Traditional” Marriage and Freddie Aguilar Converting to Islam?


Screen Shot 2013-11-08 at 7.09.23 AM 1

This week, we talk about “traditional” marriage and how romance ruined it. Then, we talk about Freddie Aguilar and his consideration of converting to Islam in order to marry his underage girlfriend.

You may also download the podcast file here.



Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Posted in Audio, audio podcast, MediaComments (0)

FF Podcast 020: “Traditional” Marriage and Freddie Aguilar Converting to Islam?


Screen Shot 2013-11-08 at 7.09.23 AM 1

This week, we talk about “traditional” marriage and how romance ruined it. Then, we talk about Freddie Aguilar and his consideration of converting to Islam in order to marry his underage girlfriend.

You may also download the podcast file here.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Posted in Podcast, Religion, SecularismComments (0)


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