Silsilah expresses solidarity with Muslims
The invitation comes in the backdrop recent Christian-Muslim tension in some parts of the country.
Silsilah, an organization that promotes inter-religious dialogue in strife-stricken southern Philippines, has invited Christians to spend the Advent season and Christmas in solidarity with Muslims.
The invitation comes in the backdrop recent Christian-Muslim tension in some parts of the country. More than two months ago, Islamic extremists held 200 Catholics hostage in Zamboanga, capital of southern Philippines island of Mindanao, before they were freed by the national army.
Insurgents of MNLF – an Islamic separatist group established in the late 1960s – have been demanding that Mindanao, known for its mineral wealth, be made a separate Muslim nation. Despite a peace treaty signed in 1996, hostilities break out from time to time.
Silsilah in its message for the Advent season called on Christians and Muslims to celebrate Christmas and Id-ul Fitr in fraternal solidarity. The message exhorted both communities to go beyond their faith and to open up to a common spiritual celebration.
"Advent is one of the historical events that unite Christians in the belief that God came at a particular moment of history as Emmanuel, God-with-us. Christmas is the feast of the visible presence of God who took the form of man in Jesus Christ," said the message.
The message appreciated the efforts of Muslim and Christian leaders in defusing the recent crisis in Zamboanga and avoiding a bigger conflict. It reaffirmed the need to continue to work together in realising the organisation’s special mission of rebuilding trust and friendship between Muslims and Christians.
The message hoped, "Advent becomes for Christians a time of deep reflection and conversion to God through prayer, meditation and fasting, which will lead them to be loving, compassionate and sympathetic towards others."
Silsilah was founded over 25 years ago by PIME missionary Father Sebastiano D'Ambra and is based in Zamboanga.
Source: Agenzia Fides