Muslim women and children pray at the Quezon Memorial Circle In Quezon City during the celebration of Eid’l Adha yesterday. Muslims around the world celebrated the ‘Feast of Sacrifice,’ which marks the end of the annual pilgrimage, or hajj, to the Saudi holy city of Mecca and in remembrance of Abraham’s readiness to sacrifice his son to God. MICHAEL VARCAS
MAGUINDANAO, Philippines — Muslims in Mindanao performed Eid’l Adha open-field congregational prayers yesterday morning in designated areas under tight security.
In the troubled Marawi City where Maute terrorists and soldiers are locked in battle since May 23, worshipers gathered at the Lanao del Sur provincial capitol and Mindanao State University for the obligatory early morning worship rite.
But gunshots in hostile areas in Marawi City were heard while Maranaos prayed in groups under the morning sun.
Assemblyman Zia Alonto Adiong of the 24-seat Regional Assembly in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said worshipers in Marawi City performed their outdoor Eid’l Adha prayers in a somber mood.
Most clerics who led the Eid’l Adha prayers spoke on the importance of religious solidarity, fraternal love for all people regardless of religions and tribes, and respect for life.
“Of course we prayed for peace in Marawi and nearby towns affected by the conflict here,” said Adiong, spokesman of the Lanao del Sur provincial crisis management committee.
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In Maguindanao, hundreds of Muslims prayed at the parade ground of the Army’s Camp Siongco in Datu Odin Sinsuat town in the first district of the province.
Col. Markton Abo, civil-military relations officer of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said the Army hosted the Eid’l Adha prayer as part of their confidence-building measure in support of Malacañang’s peace overture with local Moro sectors.
The commander of 6th ID, Major Gen. Arnel dela Vega, led soldiers in distributing food to worshipers while at Camp Siongco.
A Muslim woman prays with her children during the observance of Eid’l Adha in Manila yesterday. EDD GUMBAN
Abo and Dela Vega jointly organized the religious event in Camp Siongco, the largest Army facility in central Mindanao.
In a message, Dela Vega appealed to Muslims who prayed at Camp Siongco to continue pushing the government’s southern Mindanao peace process forward.
Among the worshipers Dela Vega hosted were representatives from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front. Both groups have separate peace accords with the national government.
The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process also launched yesterday the peace month through a simultaneous celebration of Eid’l Adha in four evacuation camps in Iligan City.
Eid’l Adha, or “feast of sacrifice,” is an important religious holiday in Islam, along with Eid’l Fitr that marks the culmination of the Islamic Ramadhan fasting season.
Eid’l Adha is celebrated yearly to commemorate the biblical story on the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to offer as a sacrifice his own son Isaac in a test of absolute loyalty to Allah. The story is also found in the Qur’an.
Heroism of soldiers in Marawi honored
The heroism of soldiers who fought against the Maute was not forgotten in the observance of Eid’l Adha.
Filipino-Turkish Tolerance School (FTTS), a nongovernmental organization, included the wounded soldiers among the 20,000 poor families who received beef yesterday and today for Eid’l Adha.
About 80 to 90 heads of cattle were slaughtered with the support of the Australian Relief Organization through the Integrated Center for Alternative Development, the foundation of the FTTS.
“We are going to distribute to Camp Navarro for the wounded soldiers of the Philippines who were wounded in the battle,” said FTTS director Maruf Celebi.
Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa also called for peace and unity in the observance of Eid’l Adha. – With Roel Pareño, Jose Rodel Clapano, Emmanuel Tupas