SEVERAL YOUTH groups in Mindanao and the National Capital Region (NCR) involved in peace-building and development programs said the recent police order to profile Muslim youth in the nation’s capital is not just “an act of identity and religious discrimination” but also “deepens the prejudice and oppression” against followers of Islam. “It retrogresses the gains achieved by different groups in advancing diversity and equality in academic institutions, workplaces, and the wider society,” the groups said in a statement released Tuesday by non-government organization International Alert Philippines. They cited that “there have been at least 14 anti-discrimination ordinances passed by local governments over the years” while a joint memorandum was signed last year requiring local governments of NCR to establish Muslim Consultative Councils in their areas. “We’ve had enough of the uninformed bias that Muslims are more likely to join violent extremist groups. This is simplistic thinking and dismisses the multiplicity of the causes of violence in our communities such as land and resource-based conflict, the shadow economies of illegal drugs and guns, and the many tensions brought about by transitions, such as in the case of post-war Marawi,” they said. The NCR police has since revoked the memorandum following denunciation from various sectors, including the government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. “While we applaud the recent memorandum by the PNP (Philippine National Police)-NCR ordering the revocation of this directive, we call on the PNP to ensure equal rights for all and strengthen interventions and programs that are holistic and promote community cohesion rather than division,” the groups said. “(W)e call on everyone to take part in ending all forms of discrimination. We might think injustice, conflict, and suffering across our communities are beyond our control but, this doesn’t have to be.” The groups, which comprise International Alert Philippines’s network of youth leaders in Mindanao and Metro Manila, are: Youth Political Leadership Training Alumni, Movement of Young Peacebuilders in Mindanao, Iranun Corridor Youth Network, Project Tripod, CommUNITY VOICE, and Mindanao Young Leaders Programme Batch Sinag 2019.