CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 23 September 2017

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Top Muslim body condemns attack on Marawi

COTABATO (SE): “And we have not sent you (O Muhammad), except as a mercy to the world,” the Regional Dural Ifta (House of Opinions) says in a statement condemning the attack on and occupation of Marawi City, in The Philippines by what it describes as the un-Islamic Maute Group.
 
The Cotabato City-based Dural quotes the Sura Al-Anbiya in an appeal to the Maute to abandon its occupation of the city saying, “If they are true Muslims, they must adhere to the teachings and principles of Islam and bring mercy to this world.”
 
Describing itself as the highest religious authority in Islam in Mindanao, the Regional Darul Ifta condemns in the highest degree the attack on Marawi and its peace loving people.
 
It also calls on the government to restore peace and provide assistance to its people.
 
“We appeal to the Armed Forces of The Philippines and the Philippine National Police to adhere to the rule of law by protecting and preserving the sanctity of lives and property of the people of Lanao, especially in Marawi City,” the statement from the Regional Dural Ifta says.
 
It also appeals to the armed forces and the police not to harass people as they make their way to the mosques of an evening for prayer during this period of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting.
 
While stressing that Islam is a religion of peace and does not condone in any way the killing of innocent men and women, the statement specifically condemns attacks on churches and places of worship, saying, “Prophet Muhammad prohibits to kill women, children, aged and men of other religions, who confine their selves inside their churches and synagogues during battle engagement.”
 
The Dural Ifta is making a pointed statement against the Maute, as its initial target in Marawi on May 23 was the Catholic cathedral and a Protestant school.
 
It also kidnapped a priest, together with people who were attending Mass, as well as students and staff from the Christian educational institute.
 
But while religious leaders from both the Christian and Muslim faiths have called on their people to unite in solidarity and, reports suggest with some success, the martial law authority in Iligan City refused a request from several interfaith groups to hold a joint outdoor prayer service.
 
A Muslim peace advocate, Samira Gutoc-Tomawis, was reported by UCAN as saying that several Muslim groups had expressed an interest in joining their Christian brothers and sisters in praying for the safety of the displaced people from Marawi, many of whom have been received in Iligan.
 
“We would have wanted to highlight the value of life,” she said, adding that part of their prayer was for the safety of Father Chito Soganub.
 
While the military summit on June 7 asked people to remove pictures of the sacrilegious rampage and carnage in the cathedral in Marawi so as not to fan hostility, its authority was also used to squash an initiative to promote interfaith harmony in Iligan.
 
However, it did agree with the Dural Ifta in saying that the attack was carried out in order to arouse hatred between good Muslims and Christians in the region.
 
The Regional Dural Ifta says, “Sowing terror in any form cannot be justified in the name of religion.”

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