Silsilah Message of Ramadan 2016

Every year the Silsilah Dialogue Movement shares a message to the Muslim Ummah during the month of Ramadan and a message to the Christians during the Advent and Christmas Season.

This message of Ramadan is addressed to all Muslims, especially to the Muslims in the Philippines. Today the gap among Muslims and Christians in the country is becoming more alarming because of the increase of religious radicalism promoted by some groups which justify violence. The end of radicalism is nowhere near to be seen and therefore the increase in violence is expected to continue.

The month of Ramadan is a blessed time for the Muslims. We, in Silsilah, respect Ramadan as a great opportunity for the Muslim to revisit the message of “ Mercy and Compassion” well presented by 138 Muslim scholars of the world in 2007 in the open letter “ A Common Word” addressed to Pope Benedict XVI and other Christian leaders of the world. This letter presents the Love of God/Allah and the love of neighbours “in Islam and Christianity.”
Inspite of these signs of hope in recent history we are victims of new signs of violence. One of this is the ISIS, a group known as DAESH (Islamic State group) and supported by international groups present also in the Philippines, and especially in Mindanao. This adds more fear and violence among our people. It is urgent to act together to promote the common good. The month of Ramadan for the Muslims is a good time for reflection, fasting and prayer to reaffirm the real message of Islam that emphasizes the “Mercy and Compassion” of God/Allah.

We, in Silsilah, meanwhile are happy to see the positive effects of Ramadan but are also alarmed and concerned of the new signs of violence justified by “Islamic radicalism”. These signs are more visible in some areas in Mindanao. Indeed, it is already an international problem that we can not ignore. We know that many good Muslims, including religious leaders, are also alarmed in the Philippines. We in the Silsilah Dialogue Movement do not have the authority to raise our voice on behalf of the Muslim Ummah in the Philippines, but we take this opportunity to encourage Muslim leaders to move with courage. One of the recent initiatives taken from Bangladesh can help to move by example. This country has been traditionally “moderate.” Before Muslims, Christians and Hindus used to live together in Bangladesh respecting each other, but not anymore because of new acts of violence sponsored by other countries and groups which promote fear and violence “in the name of Islam”.

Quoting “AsiaNews” we read: More than 100,000 Muslim clerics in Bangladesh have signed recently a fatwa condemning Daesh (Islamic State group) militants not only as “enemies of Islam” but also as “enemies of Muslims”. Ulama, imams, madrasah teachers, and Islamic intellectuals decided to get directly involved in the fight against the spread of extremist ideas in the country.Those who joined the ‘Fatwa of peace for human well-being’ welcomed the proposal to promote anti-violence attitudes in mosques.The goal is to answer the questions raised by the militant groups and supporters and answer them “quoting the holy Qur’an and Hadith.””Islam doesn’t support any kind of terrorism,” said Muhammad Jashim Uddin, a Muslim cleric; it “supports brotherhood”. We know of groups that call themselves Muslims and persecute minorities. But Muhammad did not teach us this. Good human beings never kill, never attack places of worship of other faiths.For Shidur Islam, a madrasah teacher, the “militants are blind and misguided. it is time for media to play a vital role to make Muslim Imams aware”.”We signed a fatwa against militancy because we think it will help reduce militancy,” he added. All Muslim clerics should teach of the fatwas. “As Bangla, we are peace minded, but some militant incidents are destroying our country’s image.” We hope that good initiatives from the Philippines and other countries will help to give more courage in promoting peace. We are convinced that peace can not be achieved with violence. We believe in the long process that helps people to grow and promote the growth of peace starting from the heart. May this month of Ramadan 2016 help the Muslims to reflect in the quotation of the Qur’an of “competing only in goodness” and of the Christian reflection “to see Christ in every person and love all as Jesus did”.In this year of the great Jubilee of Mercy promoted by Pope Francis, the Silsilah Dialogue Movement reaffirms its mission of dialogue and peace and wishes that a new spirit of love among Muslims and Christians in Mindanao and in the world will become more visible. It is time to believe that the differences of religions are not an obstacle in our society, but an opportunity to reflect and to move together against any form of society without God and “materialism”, reaffirming the centrality of God.

Fr. Sebastiano D’ Ambra, PIME
Founder – Silsilah Dialogue Movement

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