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Philippines: Muslim-Christian centre opens

 A new Centre for poor Christians and Muslims children and families, has been opened in Mindanao, in the southern Philippines. A co-operative venture between Muslim and Christians, the new 'Harmony Zone Centre' is near 'Harmony Village' - where a Christian/Muslim initiative 'Silsilah Movement', was started by Italian missionary Fr Sebastiano D'Ambra, from the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions. The new Zamboanga Children's Centre, will provide free medical treatment to children, provided by a team of specialist doctors, and will follow their rogress as they grow up. Many other social and religious initiatives involving Christians and Muslims were organised for the recent month of Ramadan 2004. Mindanao is home to a Muslim minority of about five million people, (6% of a total population of 80 million) which has its own culture, customs and traditions. Over the years this minority has given rise to secessionist and independence groups and violence. The local Church has sought to promote reconciliation and dialogue with the Muslim community. The Silsilah or Chain Movement promotes cultural events and prayer meetings with Muslims. Every year the Movement sends greetings to all Muslims for the end of the Ramadan. In this message this year, besides expressing respect for Islam, Silsilah said it hoped the month of prayer and fasting would bring believers closer to God and neighbour. Source: Fides