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“The ink of the Scholar is holier than the blood of the martyrs.”
-Hadith, Holy Prophet Muhammad

The ritual sighting of the Holy month of Ramadan is still a strange activity for non-Muslims but this is very important for the Muslims throughout the Islamic world.  Hence, the start of the fasting month of Ramadan commences once the crescent moon is sighted. The official beginning of the fasting is declared by the Mufti of the area. The importance of the sighting is well expressed by one author of the book “The Symbols of Islam” when he said, it is the communal aspect of Islam the sighting of the new moon is given so much importance so that the entire community participates in the ritual, sighting of the new moon.

My fraternal greetings to my Muslim brothers and sisters as they journey in their spiritual performance in this Holy month, may Allah in His infinite mercy endows His blessings to all of us. May He give us the strength not only physically but spiritually.
July 16 was a two-in-one affair at the Western Mindanao State University. In the morning on that day was the Conferment Ceremony of his honor, Mayor Celso L. Lobregat as Doctor of Humanities, Honoris Causa, the first sitting Mayor ever accorded with such high honor by the Western Mindanao State University. A historic event, indeed!

In the afternoon, was also the other great event at WSMU-the Investiture Ceremony of the 5th President of the Western Mindanao State University Dr. Milabel Enriquez-Ho with no less than the Chair-Designate of the WMSU Board of Regents, Dr. Nora Ricafort led the honor of conferring the former will all the rights, privileges and responsibilities of the Office upon Dr. Ho as the 5th President of WMSU.

To my both friends-Dr. Celso L. Lobregat and Dr. Milabel E. Ho, my best wishes and good luck as you embark with your new journey.

Dr. Ricafort also presided in the conferment of Dr. Lobregat.

The controversial issue of disallowing the wearing of “Hijab” at Pilar College is nothing new. This happened in the past and other countries and even Egypt where the Al-Azhar University is located, many Egyptians frown on the full face veil. Indonesia, Malaysia. Jordan, Morocco and some other Muslim countries do not impose the wearing, except, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This is not, more on the compliance to Islam but tradition and custom, otherwise, the above-mentioned Muslim countries would had imposed it on their women.

A personal note to Pilar College as to why many Muslim girls are attracted to Pilar College is because most parents prefer their daughters to study at Christian institution because the RVM Sisters are already wearing the “Hijab” and yet they know this is a Catholic School. So my reverend Sisters at Pilar College think about this-you are wearing “hijab” that’s why these Muslims parents like the school. What do you say about this?

The rule of the college which prohibits the wearing of “hijab” should be obeyed by the students-this is the School academic freedom, to admit only those who could abide with the policy of the Institution. Pilar College has not violated any laws of the land. The freedom to choose the school where one is comfortable with is the student’s right.

This is a surprise to many as to why I have come back to writing my column. Many of my readers, friends, colleagues and even my former students have been urging me to write and in compliance to their request, here I am back to Zamboanga Today.

I was for a year missing due to some ailmen-thank God He has endowed me with enough strength to do my favorite hobby-writing.

More on Pilar College…the issue of this “Hijab” may be settled through a dialogue rather than bringing the matter to the media or even to the City Council. I am sure the RVM Sisters may relax the rule with some conditions which both parties may agree.

I support more on dialogue rather than escalating the issue in the media.

By October 2012, the city of Zamboanga will have another landmark to boost of-the opening of the Museo de Zamboanga. Another feat of Mayor Lobregat. As he vows out as Mayor of the City, we just count our blessings with the Mayor’s infrastructure projects-its amazing!

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