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Silsilah dialogue movement celebrates IFCL Basilan founding anniversary

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The Inter-faith Council of Leaders (IFCL) Basilan celebrated its 1st Founding Anniversary together with the inauguration of the Silsilah Center for Dialogue of Peace last September 1, 2011 in Basilan Province.

IFCL Basilan is composed of respected individuals coming from different sectors in the province including the Christian and Muslim groups, private and business sectors and the local government. It aims to establish harmonious relationship for sustainable peace and development in Basilan city which is a rich city in terms of culture, pluralism, resources and the like but at the same time, negatively labeled with impression of conflict and violence. IFCL Basilan is an extension of the Silsilah Dialogue Movement and IFCL Zamboanga to have better access to civic and government entities in the promotion of dialogue and peace in Basilan.

Silsilah Dialogue Movement also inaugurated the new Silsilah Center for Dialogue and Peace which will serve as the main office of IFCL Basilan and the movement. It is in this center where future meetings, activities, gatherings and formations of the IFCL group, Silpeace Basilan and Silsilah Dialogue Movement will be held. The Silsilah Center for Dialogue and Peace is located at Trota Park along with Enfante Hospital and Land Transportation Office of Basilan City.

The event also highlighted the accomplishment of IFCL Basilan. The group was able to bring together the people and institutions in different walks of life to find solutions for issues that disrupt the harmony and peace in the community during its one year presence. Participatory discussion on Basilan power crisis, the tensions in Carbora and brgy. St. Barbara in Isabela city, discussions on community leaders in trauma-healing and many other formal and informal activities are among the things that were organized by IFCL Basilan core group. The invitees to at the inauguration of the Basilan IFCL centre resonated the positive effects that these efforts have brought upon the community. The importance of a council of leaders committed for interfaith dialogue is not only to promote faith-based understanding about Christianity and Islam, but also to lead the people to interact with each other residing in their hearts that deeper understanding of a common good.

Many of the leaders highlighted the importance of cultivating the idea of dialogue as a path to peace and strengthen interfaith dialogue in the hearts and minds of the children and youth by integrating it in the local school curriculum under peace education and persuading the parents, especially the mothers to take the lead role in such initiative. The presence of IFCL and its motivation to promote dialogue was seen as a timely need as people in Basilan wants to make dialogue and peace the norm rather than its stigma of violence and fear. Personal testimonials shared by both Muslim and Christian community leaders emphasized the need for change in the personal and social discourse and take up the challenge of bringing a change to the society by being witnesses and living the positive change that they want to see in their community.

Today, Basilan IFCL is strengthened by the multi-sectoral actors, including the Bishop and Ulama of Basilan, other religious leaders, business sector, civil society organizations (MUSLIMAH, an organization consist of Muslim women from Isabella municipality), local government units and high schools. There is already the establishment of Silpeace Youth Program of Silsilah Dialogue Movement and this will open the doors for more Silpeace youth activities in Basilan in the future.

In all this successes, Silsilah’s Core Group of IFCL Basilan have been working with commitment true to the cause of interfaith dialogue to combine and network the Muslim and Christian communities efforts to bring a common goal for solidarity and peace in Basilan.




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