CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 12 May 2018

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Marawi Mosque reopens in time for Ramadan

MARAWI (UCAN): The Saduc-Guimba Grand Mosque in the village of Saduc, in war-ravaged Marawi, has re-opened in time for the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan on May 15, almost a year after terrorist gunmen attacked the predominantly Muslim city in Mindanao, the Philippines.
 
The Philippine military earlier declared the area where the mosque is located, cleared of explosives that might have been left during the five months of fighting.
 
The last congregational prayer was held in the mosque on 19 May 2017, days before the May 23 attack on the city by Islamic State-inspired gunmen.
 
Residents have expressed their gratitude to the military for allowing prayers to be held again in the mosque.
 
“Since I was a child, I have come here to pray,” a resident, Langkap Mangata, said.
 
“I was sad when we were initially barred from even visiting the mosque,” he said.
 
The bullet-riddled mosque stands next to a river that served as a boundary between the green zone and the main battle area during the conflict.
 
An estimated 300,000 people remain in temporary shelters even as the government starts the rehabilitation and rebuilding of the city.
 
However, one Muslim leader, Sultan Abdul Atar, said that he could not understand why it took too long for the military to re-open the mosque.
 
“Why are people made to suffer,” he asked, adding, “The government is always creating problems with the people,” citing a proposal to build a military camp in the city.
“The residents of Marawi don’t want it,” Atar said.
 
Displaced residents warned that the government will face another rebellion in Marawi if it fails to heed the concerns of people.
 
“We have nowhere to go, nowhere to express our anger. This might lead to the rise of another group,” Dalomabi Lao Bula, convenor of the United Mothers for Marawi.
 
She said the government failed to consult residents on the rehabilitation of their city.
 
“They came up with the reconstruction and recovery programme, but we’re not a part of it. They have consultations, but plans were presented to us as if it was a done deal,” she said.
 
It is estimated that the rehabilitation of the city will cost at least US$1.4 billion ($10.98 billion), according to government officials.

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