Sunday, 7 June 2015

Message from the "Silsilah" movement: a Ramadan of peace in Mindanao

Zamboanga, Philippines  - "In a time when people are being killed because they belong to a religion or a specific group, it is important to remember the value of life, and reaffirm our common origin that gives us the same dignity as creatures of the same God": this is the message released by the Islamic-Christian dialogue "Silsilah" movement, present in southern Philippines for 30 years, on the occasion of Ramadan, the holy month of the Islamic community (18 June to 18 July 2015).
            The text sent to Agenzia Fides says: "We urgently need to reflect on new and alarming problems of violence in the world, in the Philippines, particularly in Mindanao. The presence of radical movements who support religious violence, leads us to reflect and ask: “Why is there so much violence?’’
            The message recalls the "Open Letter" signed by 126 Muslim leaders in the world in September 2014, condemning the "Islamic state" (IS) and is a "proof that the Islamic world is reacting to this new form of violence that adds prejudice and fear among people of different cultures and religions, even in the Philippines".
            The movement launches an appeal to "authorities, Muslim religious leaders in particular, so that they move with more determination against all forms of extremism emerging here and there, in the name of Islam. This is urgently needed to protect the identity of the Islamic religion and save the peace process in Mindanao".
            "Building peace on fear - it says - does not help the peace process. Silsilah continues to build, together with all people of good will, a culture of dialogue and respect". The text continues. "We hope that the month of Ramadan is indeed a time of "great jihad" which is a "fight of purification" of hearts and minds from all forms of violence. This is the spiritual path that Islam aims at, in particular during the month of Ramadan, and that Christians appreciate and respect". "World peace can only be built on love and mutual respect", it concludes. (Source: Agenzia Fides 02/06/2015)

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