ASIA/PHILIPPINES - A missionary: "Mindanao needs people who move with courage and compassion"

Wednesday, 7 September 2016 year of mercy   dialogue   islam   violence  


Zamboanga (Agenzia Fides) - "The future of peace in Mindanao needs people who move with courage and compassion. I hope everyone can join in this mission of building together a big family in which one can respect and love each other as brothers and sisters": says, in a note sent to Fides, Fr. Sebastiano D'Ambra, PIME, founder of "Silsilah Dialogue Movement", an active Islam-Christian movement in Zamboanga, on Mindanao island, while the island's population is still shocked by the serious attack which took place at the town market of Davao, always in Mindanao, on September 2, causing 14 dead and 71 wounded.
Following the attack, the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, declared a "state of national emergency" which also gives power to the armed forces, and not just the police to intervene to protect the security in society.
The attack was claimed by the Islamist terrorist group "Abu Sayyaf", which now proclaims itself close to the Islamic State (Is) and has generated new fractures in the common mentality as well as further mistrust towards Muslims.
"I live my mission of dialogue and peace through the Silsilah Movement, made up of Christians and Muslims. Over the years, I have developed friendships with many Muslims. I think it is still possible to build together a harmonious society starting from the spirituality that unites human beings as part of the same family created by God", notes Fr. D'Ambra.
To those who are pessimistic, in the face of a conflict that seems to have no end, the missionary who has been in Mindanao since 1977, responds: "We continue to be a sign of hope, despite the difficulties. We are doing our part, which for us is a mission, and I see signs of hope, also thanks to our presence. Dialogue is not a strategy, but it is based on the spirituality of life-in-dialogue as an expression of love. For us, dialogue is not just a means but an end in itself". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 07/09/2016)