ASIA/PHILIPPINES - Christian and Muslim leaders work together for peace in Mindanao

Monday, 14 March 2005

Zamboanga (Fides Service) - While tension remains in Jolo, southern Philippines, where rebels and army troops have been fighting for more than a month, Christians and Muslims in Mindanao (the large island in the south of the archipelago) continue to launch initiatives for peace.
Recently Christians and Muslims organised a seminar in Zamboanga, southern Mindanao on the question of peace in Mindanao and connected old and new cultural and religious problems. The event was organised by the Inter Faith Council of Leaders in collaboration with the Silsilah, movement for dialogue founded by Italian missionary Fr. Sebastiano D’Ambra, a member of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions. Prof. Randolf David, who teaches sociology said that at the root of the tension is the fact that people in southern Philippines, Christians and Muslims, have little sense of nationality and are very aware of their cultures differences. But Prof. David also underlined the growing gap between rich and poor as a reason for tension.
It emerged from the seminary that one way to promote peace is to educate youth and encourage initiatives to build a sense of friendship and sharing particularly among the younger generation. In fact the Western Mindanao State University, in collaboration with Silsilah, organises meetings and initiatives of formation and experience-sharing as well as special joint workshops to help Christian and Muslim youth reflect on the value of cultural and religious pluralism and themes connected with dialogue and peace.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 14/3/2005 righe 23parole 235