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Duterte urges unity, strength during Eid



“Of course, we pray everyday for peace to reign in Mindanao, particularly in Marawi City, which became a battleground for five months last year.”

President Rodrigo Duterte called for unity and fortitude among Filipinos to weather challenges facing the nation, including threats from “misguided ideologies, terrorism and violent extremism” in his message to celebrate the Muslim holiday of Eid’l Fitr yesterday.

“I trust that the sacrifice of Muslim Filipinos during their month-long fasting has rekindled their faith and reawakened their sense of benevolence and empathy towards their fellowmen,” the President’s message said.

Eid’l Fitr is the most important festival in the Islamic calendar which signals the end of Ramadan which is a month-long celebration marked by fasting.

The holiday falls on the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal and is determined by the sighting of the crescent moon shortly after sunset.

In the Philippines, this festival is known to Muslims as “Araw ng Lebaran” or “Araw ng Raya.” Eid is declared a national holiday through Republic Act No. 9177.

Sen. Richard Gordon said the celebration reminds all Filipinos of the country’s “very important Islamic history and culture which is as unique as the other peoples of the Philippines.”

“Amidst the diversity in culture and religion, there is mutual respect and unity in the common good of an educated and a peaceful, prosperous nation with equal opportunities for all,” Gordon added.

“Joining them in the observance of Eid’l Fitr – a day of joy, thanksgiving, worship, brotherhood, solidarity and morality for the Islamic faith – shows our high regard for our Muslim brothers who have played

a big role in our country’s history. They fought the foreign invaders and they were never conquered,” Gordon said.

“We don’t have any demand or wish to Allah among us Muslims except unity. Let’s all unite for our beloved country, unite as Muslims. Let’s help one another. Let us show that Muslims have no bad intentions, they do not commit violence but rather, obey Allah and love our fellow individuals,” Datu Basher Alonto Al Hajj, chairman of the Metro Manila Muslim Community for Justice and Peace, said.

Eid al-Fitr was celebrated with morning prayers in front of the Blue Mosque in Maharlika Village in Taguig City where prayers for unity and peace were offered.

BBL, Marawi cited in prayers
Hajji Muhammad Ersad Malli, administrator of the Golden Mosque and Cultural Center in Quiapo, Manila, said Muslim Filipinos mostly prayed for lasting peace in the country, especially in war-torn Marawi City, and the swift approval of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

“Of course, we pray everyday for peace to reign in Mindanao, particularly in Marawi City, which became a battleground for five months last year,” he said.
Malli noted that Muslims also prayed for the passage of the BBL which seeks to bring peace in Mindanao.

“We are praying and hoping that the BBL will become a law. God willing, BBL will push through and signed before the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Duterte next month,” he added.

Peaceful festivity
Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, director of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), said celebration of the holiday throughout Metro Manila was peaceful.
“It was normal and peaceful,” Eleazar said.

Metro Manila is host to several major Muslim communities like in Quiapo, Maharlika Village in Taguig City, and in Culiat, Quezon City.

The Manila Police District (MPD) said at least 4,000 Muslims gathered at the Quirino Grandstand.

For its part, the Royal Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo called for unity among Filipinos, both Muslims and Christians, for the betterment of the country.

“In behalf of his Royal Highness Sultan Phugdalun Kiram II, the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo wishes to convey his greetings of peace and unity for the Filipino people regardless of race and creed,” Abraham Idjirani, secretary general of the sultanate and spokesman, said.

“May the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan bring more blessings and strong faith in the transformation of our nation not only as sanctuary for freedom, justice, and free of prejudices but above all will bridge the differences of the Filipino people’s belief and direction towards nation building,” he added.