written by Aniyyah Fatmah Guina, YES Program Alumna 2016

#IslamNotPhobia is a campaign to counter Islamic prejudice and hate speech towards the Muslims in Iligan City and other communities in Mindanao as part of the Peer2Peer Facebook Global Digital Challenge. Peer2Peer is a digital challenge sponsored by EdVenture Partners in partnership with Facebook, Inc. Because of the siege that happened in Marawi, a neighboring city, on May 23, 2017, many Muslim residents of Marawi took refuge in Iligan. However, it was evident that there exists a negative perception towards the Muslim evacuees because of lack of cultural and religious tolerance.

The campaign aims to facilitate cultural and religious diversity and tolerance.It used online (photo and video competitions) and offline (social experiments) strategies. The online competitions were participated by more than 30 individuals across Mindanao. The offline strategy included two social experiments: Hijabi for a Day where 6 non-Muslim volunteers wore an Islamic head covering for one day; and Hugging Experiment where two Muslim and two non-Muslim volunteers wore placards in public places around the community to test if religious differences really matter for social engagements. The activities were concluded with an exhibit held at the university grounds.

The said campaign was organized by Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology freshmen Accountancy students (block 56) known as Team Pakigsandurot. The core team has five students including one YES alumna: Aniyyah Fatmah A. Guinar (project team leader, YES 2016-2017), Kyle Lucia M. Dollezon, Graceneth T. Ocop, Jeorgina A. Madera and Wendy S. Cortina. It was under the supervision of Dr. Primitivo C. Ragandang III.  It started on October 2018.

Competing with 40 other universities around the world, #IslamNotPhobia emerged as top 3 together with Turkey’s See like a Child campaign and Czech Republic’s Fakescape. The core team of Pakigsandurot together with their mentor, was invited on January 26-31, 2019 to the United States of America to present their campaign in front of senior leaders, EdVenture Partners organizers and Facebook, Inc. representatives.

The project is now on its phase two.