By: Santosh Digal
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) expressed its solidarity with Muslim Filipinos on the occasion of Eid'l Fitr (Festival of Breaking the Fast) that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. CBCP President Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said: "The CBCP wishes to greet our brother Muslims as they end their month-long Ramadan which has been a season of prayer and fasting in support of their great tradition of peaceful co- existence, compassion and solidarity." The Jaro, Iloilo prelate said Muslims and Christians are one in the belief that the problems confronting the country such as "injustice, poverty, tensions and conflicts, can be resolved, if all men of goodwill will come together to work for the solution of hunger, homelessness, illiteracy, unemployment and sickness which continue to scourge millions of our brothers and sisters in the Philippines." Meanwhile, the country's Muslims yesterday joined their compatriots around the world in early morning prayers and celebration for peace, unity and thanksgiving to observe the end of Ramadan with Islam's Eid'l Fitr At the Maharlila Village in Bicutan, Taguig City, detained Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chieftain Prof. Nur Misuari joined his brethren in open-field prayers. The Embassy of Saudi Arabia led by Charge d' Affaires Dr Mohammed Nabil Bokharre hosted an Eid prayer and breakfast with selected local Muslims such as Dr. Parouk S Hussin, former governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, southern Philippines. "This is the first time the embassy hosted an Eid prayer. We shall do it again next year, God willing, Bokharre said. Petron Corp. President/CEO Sheikh Khalid Al-Faddagh, among other Arab leaders, also prayed at the embassy. Muslims in Quiapo, Manila, particularly at the Golden Mosque, also performed their Eid prayers, with Ustadhz Najeeb Taher leading the worshippers. In Maguindanao province, Rep. Simeon Datumanong prayed with his constituents. "Ramadan is a month of equality, whether rich or poor, you feel the pangs of hunger in fasting. Let this spirit generate unity and concern for our fellowmen," said Datumanong. Yesterday, Vice President Noli de Castro greeted Muslims in celebrating the holy feast of Eid'l Fitr. "Ramadan reminds us of the need to emphasize sacrifice, prayers, fasting, charity, and self-accountability in our lives. And it is only proper that we celebrate the Feast of the Breaking of the Fasts in thanksgiving for the spiritual upliftment and nourishment, which our Muslim brothers and sisters gained during the past month." Senate President President Manuel Villar said: "I would like to extend my greetings of 'Eid Mubarak' to all our Muslim brothers and sisters all over the world, especially to all Muslim Filipinos and all those celebrating Eid Al Fitr which marks the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan or the completion of Muslims' fasting and other sacrifices." Muslims in Mindanao yesterday thanked President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for remembering them on the occasion of Eid'l Fitr (Hariraya Puasa) and for extolling the virtues and lessons of Ramadan which ended on Monday. Lanao del Sur Gov Aleem Bashier "Mostaqbal" D Manalao, a staunch ally of Mrs. Arroyo, said the Muslims are grateful to the President for her understanding of the significance of EidlFitr which is being celebrated in the whole Mindanao. "May we be influenced by its message of harmony and reconciliation," Manalao said. Manalao pointed out that the celebration of Eidl-Fitr is a call for all Muslims not to nurture hate, prejudices and other negative emotions. "It is call to claim the moral high ground," the governor said. Manalao said Eidl Fitr goes beyond spiritual devotion and verbal expression and "manifests itself equally in fulfilling social and humanitarian obligations." "Surely these obligations include promoting and cementing peaceful and harmonious relations with our neighbors and fellow citizens." Manalao shares his message: "May this special day encourage all of us to strive to overcome all obstacles and unite in a common cause for national unity, social harmony and prosperity and leave us with permanent influences that will be beneficial to the stability, harmony and development of our province, our region, our country and our people."