The Ulama Summit began on Friday in Cotabato City despite a threat from a radical terrorist group, according to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Bureau of Public Information.
The Dawla Islamiya, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, issued a statement threatening ulamas, or Islamic scholars, who will attend the event.
“To those who have Ulama relatives, warn your parents, brothers and children not to attend the said summit because if something happens to them along the way or in the end, don't tell us you were not warned,” the Dawla Islamiya statement said.
The group claimed that the summit would result in scholars branding Dawla Islamiya members as terrorists and that ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman was using the ulamas for his personal agenda.
The Ulama Summit aims to emphasize that Islam must not and cannot be used to justify extremism and terrorism.
“Reeducation is necessary to rediscover Islam, specifically its underlying principles of justice, compassion, and peace,” the ulamas said.
Hataman earlier said the threat of violence and terrorism could further hamper economic growth in the region.
"While the economies of neighboring areas posted 4% to 6% growth last year, ARMM could only post less than 1% growth. This is because security threats pose limits in the region's economic expansion,” he said.
The summit will end on March 14.