“Tumbukin Natin” blog: Catholic apologist Cenon Bibe answers questions from Balik Islam

As I thought before, the debate of the Catholic apologist Cenon Bibe and the members of Balik Islam will never push through. But Cenon has been receiving text messages on his mobile phone from those who claim to be members of the Balik Islam (Return to Islam) movement, a movement of former Christians who became Muslims.   (He also receives questions from Protestants.)  These questions he posts in his blog, “Tumbukin Natin” in the hope of converting the Balik Islam members back to Christianity.  So in this sense, he is starting the Balik-Kristiyano movement.   This is apt, since Christianity (AD 33) came first before Islam (AD 632), and many countries in Asia and Northern Africa–the provinces of the Old Roman Empire–were formerly Christian before the Islamic conquest.  The only problem, though, is that his blog is in Filipino. I hope he adds a Google translation widget, so that his blog would be read by more people all over the world.

Cenon has a fancy for sprinkling his writing with words in all caps. Some people may take offense at this, for all caps means shouting. Here, for example, is his mission statement, which I translated into English, with the words in all caps intact:

CATHOLICS and the CATHOLIC FAITH are being ATTACKED.  The ATTACKS are usually STRONG and FEROCIOUS.  The SAD thing is that their CRITICISMS  are ALL WRONG.




Here is a sample of questions or thesis statements  from Balik Islam that he answered:

  1. The bible has been corrupted because there are other scriptures that are not found in the bible such as  Gospel of Barnabas.  [here]
  2. Is the Bible confirmed by the Koran? [here]
  3. Jesus Christ is uncircumcised. [here]

Cenon is the only Catholic apologist studying Islam.  May he walk in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi, the man of peace who went to the Sultan in Egypt to try to convert him.  Here is a Wikipedia entry:

In 1219 Francis left, together with a few companions, on a pilgrimage of non-violence to Egypt. Crossing the lines between the sultan and the Crusaders in Damietta, he was received by the sultan Melek-el-Kamel.[1][14] Francis challenged the Muslim scholars to a test of true religion by fire; but they retreated.[1] When Francis proposed to enter the fire first, under the condition that if he left the fire unharmed, the sultan would have to recognize Christ as the true God, the sultan was so impressed that he allowed Francis to preach to his subjects.[1][15] Though Francis did not succeed in converting the sultan, the last words of the sultan to Francis of Assisi were, according to Jacques de Vitry, bishop of Acre, in his book “Historia occidentalis, De Ordine et praedicatione Fratrum Minorum (1221)” : “Pray for me that God may deign to reveal to me that law and faith which is most pleasing to him.”.[16]

St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us.


Debate of Khalid Ibrahim Mabute of Balik Islam Movement and the Catholic apologist Cenon Bibe Jr. in the University of the Philippines was indefinitely postponed

I arrived at 9:30 a.m. at the Quezon Hall of University of the Philippines Diliman, which is behind the Oblation Statue.  Khalid Ibrahim Mabute and Shakil Ibrahim of the Balik Islam Movement were there before the giant Greek columns.  The former was a youth of 18, beardless; the latter about a few years older with a goatee.  They were talking to a certain Manny who was a friend of Cenon Bibe Jr.  The two asked Manny why he came.  Manny said he is a friend of Ceno and he wants to know more about the Catholic Faith.  I just stood behind them trying to eavesdrop their soft conversation.

There were no other people in sight, except a few students doing other business and some guards of the hall.  There were white monoblock chairs arranged in the wide lawn behind, perhaps a sort of graduation ceremony will be held.  But it was raining; the lawn was empty.

Then Cenon came with a black shoulder bag of books.  He was about in his late thirties, taller than Mabute and Ibrahim.  Cenon’s beer belly  made him look older.

Cenon asked if the debate will start.  The two members refused.  They said they think they were only trying to arrange a pre-debate signing of memorandum of agreement.  Mabute said he was only a mediator.  Cenon was a bit annoyed.  He canceled his work only to come here.  He asked for an informal debate, but he was refused.  Voices were raised.  The guards went to them and asked them to go down the stairway.  In the end, they signed an handwritten agreement:


Kami sina Khalil Ibrahim Mabute at ako si Shakil Ibrahim sa ngalan ng mga Balik Islam (Islamic Faith Defenders of the Philippines) ay naghahamon kina Cenon Bibe at mga kasamahng Romano Katoliko sa isang maginoong debate isat lugar at petsa na pagkakasunduan ng dalawang panig.

Ito ay palitan lamang ng paliwanag.  Hindi ito dapat maging religious war.


We, Khalid Ibrahim Mabute and I Shakil Ibrahim, in the name of Balik Islam (Islamic Defenders of the Philippines), are challenging Cenon Bibe and his fellow Roman Catholics to a gentleman’s debate in a place and time that will be agreed by both parties.

This is only an exchange of explanations.  This should not become a religious war.

Signed: Shakil Ibrahim, Khalid Ibrahim Mabute, and Cenon Bibe.


They decided to photocopy the agreement.  Cenon asked for a time for his friends in the Defensores Fidei to come.  About three of them came, each armed with bags of books: Manuel Protacio, Kit Lumnigkit, and Lito Jamisola.  These are veteran Catholic apologists who prefer to debate in front of large crowds, such as in Luneta Park in front of the Japanese Embassy, near the chess center.

Cenon told them the debate was postponed.  After the agreement was photocopied, I went with apologists for a lunch of fishball and buko juice.  And I heard their tales that may be worth several blogposts.  I left them at 3:30 p.m.  I still have work to do.

The debate never happened, and I don’t think it will ever happen in the near future.  But at least I learned a lot and met new friends.

Khalid Ibraheem Mabute of the Balik Islam Movement debates with Catholic Apologist Cenon Bibe, Jr. on 25 April 2009: “Is the Christian Bible more credible than the Q’ran?”

Khalid Ibraheem Mabute of the Balik Islam Movement has challenged the esteemed Catholic Apologist Cenon Bibe, Jr. to a public debate on the “credibility” of the Christian Bible as compared the Q’ran. It will be held on the 25th of April 2009 at 10 o’clock in the morning at the Quezon Hall of U.P. Diliman. May we request you to please pray for this exercise, and if possible, attend this rare event.

Source: Despues Bear

Cenon Bibe, Jr.’s two blogs are Tumbukin Natin and Sagot sa Balik Islam.  I can’t find the blog of Khalid Ibraheem Mabute.


I’ll do my best to be there this Saturday.  I have read the bible but not the Q’ran.  All I know is that in the message of the Mary to Fr. Stefano Gobbi in the Marian Movement of Priests, She described Islam as the first 666:

The number of the beast. 666, represents in the first place the year ‘six hundred and sixty-six. In this period of history the antichrist was manifested through the phenomenon of Islam, which directly denies the mystery of the divine Trinity and the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Islamism with its military force broke loose everywhere, destroying all the ancient Christian communities of Asia Minor and beyond, in the latter half of the seventh century. The ancient Roman and Christian communities in the near east were engulfed in the deluge that followed, and disappeared almost completely. (Marian Movement of Priests, 17 June 1989) (From Reflections on Pilgrimmage 2001 by Bishop Roman Danylak)

The second 666 is the period 1332 in the phenomenon of Protestantism.  The third 666 is the period 1998, which is our time.

Update:  This debate was indefinitely postponed.  Read here.