Thursday, 29 August 2013 00:00
The Interfaith Council of Leaders - Sulu (IFCL-Sulu) was born after a year of preparation in the premises of the Astoria Hotel during a 2-day discussion and planning activity on August 23 and 24, 2013.
Fifteen came from Jolo as the nucleus of a group which will work towards the promotion of better understanding and relations between Christians and Muslims in this province located in the southern part of the Philippines. Together the two faith groups will undertake efforts that will be for the common good of the community. Datu Yldon Kiram and Juludy Elam, coordinators of the Silsilah Forum Jolo, were given the task of identifying the people who were invited to come to Zamboanga City to share ideas for the formation of IFCL-Sulu and its subsequent mission.
About 3 years ago IFCL-Basilan was formed and it has since shown what good can come when people of different faith and cultural backgrounds join hands to pursue the common good. The experience of IFCL-Zamboanga and the experience of Basilan as shared by 3 representatives from the IFCL there was an inspiration to the Sulu group. Inspiring messages were also shared by members of IFCL Zamboanga in the persons of Atty. Arsenio Gonzalez, Mr. Ismael Abubakar, Prof Alih Aiyub and the ever active leaders of Silsilah, Ms. Aminda E. Saño and Fr. Sebastiano D’Ambra, PIME.
The session that ended the 2-day activity sponsored by Asia Foundation was both moving and meaningful. The Sulu group composed a statement of their commitment to promote the work ahead. Part of the statement reads
Interfaith Council of Leaders (IFCL) – Sulu
STATEMENT OF COMMITMENT
We, the members of the Inter-faith Council of Leaders of Sulu, guided by the Almighty, moved by the spirit of dialogue and peace, inspired by the Silsilah Dialogue Movement which promote the value of respect, trust, understanding and openness; hereby commit ourselves to:
1. strengthen our faith as Muslims and Christians and work together against violence, corruption and injustices in our community;
2. act as a forum that will facilitate in defining, clarifying, and discussing issues concerning peace and order, development and the environment that directly affects the people; and
3. maintain and preserve our identity, integrity and function as a group which promotes the Culture of Dialogue, Path to Peace, and serve the community as “check and balance” between the citizens and the government or other entities on issues concerning the politics, economy and other social concerns.
We pray to God with sincere hearts that this commitment will be blessed and fulfilled. Done this 24th day of August, 2013 at Grand Astoria Hotel, Zamboanga City.
After this statement was read each of the participant from Sulu signed the statement in the presence of the assembly.
Active members of IFCL Zamboanga came to the closing session to demonstrate their support and encouragement for IFCL Sulu. In these times challenged by breakdown in inter-faith and intra-faith relationships it takes people of goodwill to come together and aver that to “Love God and love your neighbor” is a call we cannot ignore.
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