» 10/16/2008, 00.00
PHILIPPINES - ASIA
Young people from all over Asia in Mindanao, for peace and interreligious dialogue
The leaders of 90 youth movements, belonging to different religions and ethnicities, have met on the island, the theater of a decades-long war between the army and the MILF. An appeal to the Filipino government to resume talks with the Islamic rebels.
Davao City (AsiaNews) - Promoting "peace and collaboration among the different faiths" is the objective of a meeting among 90 leaders of youth movements for Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Zoroastrians, and indigenous communities, from 16 different Asian countries, who met in Davao from October 12 until today. The summit was organized by the World Conference of Religions for Peace, the largest international organization working on behalf of interreligious cooperation and dialogue, in collaboration with the Asian Conference of Religions for Peace, and the Religions for Peace Philippines Youth Network.
The results of the work will be presented at a conference scheduled in Manila from tomorrow, October 17, until October 21: it will see the participation of Filipino president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and will focus attention on the problems of Mindanao. And it was precisely to the reality of the island, the theater of bloody conflicts between the army and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that the young people dedicated part of their discussion, emphasizing the role of "peacemaker" that belongs to young people, who "through common action" can become a "source of hope" for the country.
In a press release published during the conference, the leaders of the religious movements emphasized that the reasons at the basis of the conflicts in Mindanao are not "peculiar to the Philippines," but can be found "in many areas of the world"; ethnic and religious tensions are "in constant growth" and represent a "constant source of threat" for safety. "The process of marginalization of the political, economic, cultural and religious identities needs to be exposed and overturned. Religious youth leaders are convinced that we need to confront this challenge and become peacemakers now. All parties must return to the path for peace before they stray too far off course and lose their way back."
The statement also expresses the hope for a return "to the negotiation table by the Philippine government and the MILF. The international community is paying close attention to the humanitarian crisis in Mindanao," where almost half a million refugees need food, water, and medicine.
11/11/2008 PHILIPPINES - VATICAN
Pope prays for Mindanao's Muslims
The Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy had asked for help in bringing an end to the humanitarian crisis in Mindanao, and in reviving talks between pro-independence Muslims and the government of Manila. Amina Rasul-Bernardo, the only Muslim woman to participate in the Christian-Islamic forum at the beginning of November, has written an account on her meeting with the pope: "He told me that he will pray for us."
In Mindanao, Christian and Muslim farmers work together
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Sharing Gospel values with Muslims for peace in Mindanao
The Muslim majority region has been a theatre of war between the army and Islamic rebels for over 40 years. Fr. Randy Glore Rendora and Sr. Claire Marie R. Sy, both missionaries in the province of Lanao del Sur (Mindanao), tell AsiaNews about their experience of inter-faith dialogue among Muslims.
Philippines, foreign affairs undersecretary appointed to dialogue with MILF
Rafael Seguis, with a long diplomatic career behind him, will be in charge of resuming peace negotiations with the rebels of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Relations were broken off last September 3, following the failure to sign the Memorandum of Agreement. During the week for peace in Mindanao, Christian and Muslim leaders are visiting churches and mosques.
Bishops: optimism over resumption of dialogue between government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front
All the members of the government delegation have been appointed. At Christmas, a ceasefire was observed by the army and the guerrillas.
Pope tells young people to remember the past, to have courage in the present and hope for the future
The Message for the 32nd World Youth Day was issued today centred on “The ‘great things’ that the Almighty accomplished’.” In her meeting with Elizabeth, Mary becomes a model. The pontiff calls on young people to avoid being couch potatoes, safe and cosy, urges them to rediscover the relationship with seniors. The Church experience is not a flash mob. The future should be experienced in a constructive way, and “the institutions of marriage, consecrated life and priestly mission” should not be devalued.
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