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Christians join Ramadan fast

Davao (UCAN): Archbishop Fernando Capalla, from the southern Philippine region of Mindanao, is urging Christians in his diocese to join with the sizeable Muslim population in the area by observing the holy fast during Ramadan.

“As one of our grounds of unity, we ask Christians and non-Muslims to observe solidarity fasting,” the former bishop of Davao said.

“We should promote this kind of activity as our way of dialogue with other religions,” he continued, adding that fasting is a practice common to all religions.

In the late 1970s, Archbishop Capalla launched a programme called Duyog Ramadan (One with Ramadan) encouraging non-Muslims in Mindanao to fast during the observance of the Muslim holy month.

“It was organised during the height of the armed conflict to show that Christians and Muslims want peace in the region,” the bishop explained.

This year the period of the fast began on June 6 and asks for abstinence from food and water from sunup to sundown. 

For many years both Protestants and Catholics have joined their Muslim brothers and sisters in the fast in Mindanao.

The military in the area also announced a temporary halt in its offensive against what it deems Islamist rebel groups out of respect for their right to fast peacefully in their homes.

Macrina Morados, from the University of The Philippines, described Ramadan as a time of purification. She welcomed the call for people to join their Muslim neighbours in the fast.

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