Zamboanga City gets Interfaith Council
The ordinance creates the new body, which recognizes the urgent need for "a policy of peace, cooperation and friendship in the Philippines".
The officials of Zamboanga City, on the island of Mindanao, have approved an ordinance to establish a special "Interfaith Council" aiming to tone down religious tension in the area.
The ordinance creates the new body, which recognizes the urgent need for "a policy of peace, cooperation and friendship in the Philippines." It will also reiterate "the individual right to freedom of religion and worship," reported the Vatican news service Fides.
The new council will have the function of formulating recommendations to the City Council in order to adopt pluralistic and non-discriminatory policy initiatives; maintain ties with various religious organizations of civil society, facilitate and promote interfaith activities in the fabric of the city.
The body having an annual budget of two million pesos will have 20 members including Archbishop of Zamboanga City, the mayor, representatives of the major Islamic organizations, churches and indigenous peoples.
It will also have a member of the "Silsilah" movement for dialogue that has been working for years to promote interfaith dialogue in the area.
Zamboanga City has some 800,000 people, 70 percent Christians. The rest 30 percent are Muslims, Indians and a small minority of other religions.
The area witnessed some Christian-Muslim tension in the past especially after the Sept. 9 in Zamboanga City carried out by the rebels of the "Moro National Liberation Front" (MNLF).
Source: Agenzia Fides