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Yet Another Christian Priest

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ILOILO CITY, Philippines, October 30, 2005 (IslamOnline(contact admin if its a beneficial link)) – When Muslim rebel leader Nur Misuari wanted Mindanao to secede and become an Islamic state, a Mindanao-born theologian and sociologist was among the first to rise and argue that the southern Philippine island is never home to Muslims alone.

 

Catholic priest Estanislao Soria campaigned against the Moros’ takeover of the whole of Mindanao. “I vehemently disagreed with Mr. Misuari. I campaigned against the Moro movement,†said Soria, who used to be popularly known as “Father Stan.â€

 

Soria did not want to argue without basis as he is an academic and theologian schooled in the Jesuit-run learning institutions.

 

He embarked on a historical and sociological research to back his arguments. In the back of mind, though, was the thought of the need to convert Muslims to Christianity. This also brought him to read Islamic writings, and, quite surprisingly, lead him to revert to Islam.

 

“As a linguist well-versed in Latin, Greek and Hebrew, I thought I can learn Arabic that easily. I also wanted to translate Arabic writings into English as well as translate Western ideologies like existentialism into Arabic but I realized it was difficult,†he told IslamOnline.com.

 

Soria believed that making Western writings available in Arabic would lead Muslims in Mindanao to appreciate Christianity more than Islam. “I wanted to open their minds to Christianity because I had heard a lot of negative things about the Muslims. I told myself they have to be educated.â€

 

But in getting deep into his readings, Soria realized that persons considered as “Church fathers†such as Saint Thomas Aquinas, got their knowledge from Islamic readings and teachings; that many of the so-called Western ideologies and theologies have long been discussed in Islam.

 

“[My readings] enlightened me that Western civilization’s thoughts sprung from Islamic teachings. After reading more works of Islamic theologians, I strongly changed my views on Islam,†he told IslamOnline.com.

 

Soria added, “I even realized that the Gospel of Barnabas is even more credible than the gospels of the four evangelists [included in the Christian Bible].†The Gospel of Barnabas is a work purporting to be a depiction of the life of Jesus by his disciple Barnabas. It is also considered to be pro-Islamic.

 

He, too, found out through his sociological research that most of the negative things said of the Filipino Muslims were untrue. “They were not what they were stereotyped to be.â€

 

 

 

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