Zamboanga (Agenzia Fides) - "This year the month of Ramadan in the Philippines coincides with the period of the electoral campaign for national and local elections; we also live it in conjunction with the alarming period of war in Ukraine and in other parts of the world. Together, Christians and Muslims, as part of the same human family, are called to respond to the signs of the times that invite us to overcome the divisions and conflicts accumulated over the centuries. Today we are called to respect each other even if we belong to different religions and cultures": Ramadan which runs from April 2 to May 2 highlights, on the occasion of the holy month of Islamic fasting, the message spread by the international "Silsilah" movement, born and active in the South of the Philippines, founded by PIME missionary, Fr. Sebastiano D'Ambra.
"Ramadan - notes the message sent to Fides - is a special time of fasting for a journey of purification, with some obligations such as fasting from eating and drinking during the day, prayer and charity. It is truly a great lesson for we all give more time for a journey of purification which in Islam is identified as the "Great Jihad" (Inner struggle and purification of the heart)".
The text notes that "there is a tendency to build dialogue and peace on the basis of similarities, especially between Christians and Muslims. We have something in common, but true dialogue is also based on respect for differences of faith and on the promotion of our faith, with the witness of life respecting the faith of others", which excludes attempts to "proselytize" or to convert members of one religion to another.
This is the hope expressed by the Islamic-Christian Dialogue “Silsilah” Movement. "It is time for all of us to deepen our faith, understand our identity and love our faith, at the same time to respect the faith of others. Therefore, we are called to internalize more the essential part of our faith and to be open to dialogue, also accepting differences. This is the real dialogue that Silsilah promotes". The Movement, which is a pioneer of dialogue in Mindanao and in the southern Philippines, and has been engaged in this mission since 1984, constantly promotes peace initiatives: "In this context, we continue to build together a culture of Dialogue based on the four pillars of dialogue: dialogue with God, dialogue with oneself, dialogue with others and dialogue with creation", he recalls.
The path of dialogue "is a path of spirituality that calls us to follow and live our faith. Guided by this spirit we try to invite many people to consider the importance of the 'culture of dialogue' which must reach the level of spirituality to reach together a vision of peace ", in the spirit of building" human fraternity "and the common good. In fact, "peace of the heart is the heart of peace", says Silsialh.
"This is our wish for the Muslim Ummah (community) in this period of Ramadan. We also hope - says the Message sent to Fides - that Muslims will stand up and raise their voices against those who use Islam for their own sake. It will help to create a better spirit of friendship and trust. We cannot allow terrorism and violence to continue to act in the name of religion. This is always the temptation, even for other religions today".
During the period of Ramadan, the initiatives of solidarity between Christians and Muslims in the Philippines, in the spirit of sharing and friendship, are "a good sign of hope", he concludes. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 6/4/2022)