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Inter-faith harmony in Basilan

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By all indications the civilian communities in the island province of Basilan have finally come into terms with the ugly reality. That is, if they aspire for a peaceful environment where they can live without fear and apprehension, a situation and condition that can guarantee a future for their children and the future generation, then the only option for them is to side and help the government forces eliminate the forces of evil and destruction that have caused them untold miseries.

This shift of loyalty and confidence on the government peace keeping force are measured by the series of successful campaign waged by the Armed Forces of the Philippines against the Abu Sayyaf terrorists and their comrades who are suspected to be members of the secessionist fronts. The cooperation of Muslim and Christian communities has become perceptible. After the savage attacks in Isabela City, the AFP pursuit operations have scored major victories eliminating the destructive forces of the terrorists with very little harm done on our soldiers and the civilians.

Recall how harmonious are the Muslim and Christian communities were in Basilan. During the feast of Idil-Fitr after the fasting period of Ramadan, Christians are invited by the Muslims to partake of the food and to enjoy the festivities. On Christmas season, Muslim children join the Christian friends to sing carols to Muslim and Christian neighbours. For sometime now, that inter-faith harmony was brought to a halt because extremist elements sent out by Al Qaeda permeated that unique accord between Christians and Muslims.

The savagery of the Abu Sayyaf has brought the diverse communities in Basilan together again. We are certain that their conflicts will be resolved as they have seen who their true enemies are. In time, the wounds will heal and we want to see the atmosphere of peace, dynamism and unity among the island inhabitants of Basilan return to when they can eat in the same table and sing the Christmas carols with arms locked.

By Menardo Wenceslao




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