ASIA/PHILIPPINES - A Ramadan of justice and reconciliation: message of the pro-dialogue "Silsilah" Center

Friday, 12 July 2013

Zamboanga City (Agenzia Fides) - The Holy Month of Ramadan is "a special time to renew friendship and solidarity between Christians and Muslims": says the Message issued during the month of Ramadan by the Center for inter faith dialogue "Silsilah", based in Zamboanga, on the island of Mindanao (southern Philippines), founded over 25 years ago by the Catholic missionary Fr. Sebastiano D'Ambra (PIME). "We hope that Ramadan - says the text, sent to Fides Agency - is celebrated in the spirit of friendship and reconciliation and that the new elected leaders in the Philippines serve the people with justice and fairness."
The message recalls "the suffering of so many Muslim brothers and sisters around the world, especially now in countries such as Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Pakistan and other parts of the world". In particular, the text mentions the suffering of the "many Muslims in the Philippines, particularly in areas of Mindanao." "Why is there so much suffering?" Asks "Silsilah" looking for some answers: abuse of power, the use of illegal drugs and many other illegal and immoral activities. Before such problems, one often remains silent because of fear, but "our silence often perpetuates discrimination, poverty, injustice, corruption and lawlessness". Ramadan - the text says - "reminds the Muslims in the world of the importance of fasting and prayer as a way to be closer to God and to take care of the needy. Ramadan is an important occasion for purification. Christians are grateful to the Muslims for giving them this example".
"Silsilah" recalls that Christians and Muslims "are related as brothers and sisters, members of the same human family, created by the same God who loves us all". "This is Silsilah (a term which means "chain", ed) that we have to build together, working hard to build together dialogue that is a sign of God's presence among us," as the Koran and the Bible encourages us to do so, notes the document.
"May the month of Ramadan become a special time for Muslims to remember this message and for Christians and people of other religions in the world to move together in harmony". "The cultural and religious differences should not be a cause of mutual contempt, but rather an opportunity to work together for the common good", without "closing the doors of our hearts to people who come from different faiths and cultures", but appreciating "what we have in common and to believe that we all have the same rights and dignity". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 12/07/2013)