09/03/2007, 00.00
PHILIPPINES

Cardinal Rosales calls for an end to violence in the south during Ramadan

by Santosh Digal
A few days from the start of the Muslim holy month, the archbishop of Manila and other prelates call on the government and the guerrillas to end the hostilities which affect the civilian population and cause desperation across the country.

Manila (AsiaNews) – A few days before Ramadan, Cardinal Rosales and other Filipino bishops have appealed to the government and Islamic guerrillas to end the violence that is devastating the southern province of Mindanao. The prelate, who is archbishop of Manila, stressed that violence leads to desperation across the country, especially among civilians.

“If it's criminal, then address it. But why are the people turning criminal in the first place?" Rosales said.

In appealing to the government, he urged the authorities to listen to the populations and respond to their needs. In his opinion the ongoing conflict is caused by personal differences and interests.

Ramadan, which is set to start on September 12 or 13, is traditionally a time for fasting and other spiritual activities. It is a time to commemorate the Qur’an’s “revelation” to Muhammad. Tradition has it in fact that most suras were “revealed” during this holy month.

Given its holiness, Mgr Ramon Arguelles, archbishop of Lipa, called on everyone to end the conflict as soon as possible. “Violence should not be resolved with violence,” he said. “Never has the Church been in favour of any offensive, only of peace and dialogue."

Finally, Mgr Roberto Mallari, auxiliary bishop of San Fernando, also called on the parties to show goodwill, urging them to “pursue dialogue to prevent further bloodshed.” 

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