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» 10/09/2012
PHILIPPINES
Basilan bishop welcomes deal with MILF, wants respect for Christians
Mgr Martin Jumoad, bishop of Isabela (Basilan), backs the new Bangsamoro autonomous region for the local Muslim majority. Along with the diocese of Cotabato, Isabela has one of the largest concentrations of Christians on the island. At the same time, he calls for vigilance, asking Muslims to respect religious minorities.

Zamboanga (AsiaNews) - Mgr Martin Jumoad, bishop of Basilan, is in favour of the creation of a new autonomous entity on Mindanao. The historic result achieved by the Filipino government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front was announced yesterday at the end of talks between the two sides held in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).

"I welcome the move because it is a step towards peace. We have suffered a lot and any small step towards peace is a sign of hope," Bishop Martin Jumoad said.

The See of the Diocese of Basilan is in the city of Isabela, where Christians are about half of the population. Together with Cotabato, it has one of largest concentrations of Christians in the would-be Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

Both cities have been the scene of many attacks by Muslim extremists, the last one on 5 July 2009 that left five people dead.

Speaking to AsiaNews, local sources, anonymous for security reasons, said that many Christian families are already leaving their homes for safer areas, a trend that can only accelerate with the creation of the Autonomous Muslim Region.

Under the terms of the agreement, Sharia will be enforced in the new region, but only for Muslims. At the same time, the two cities will be attached to Bangsamoro only after a referendum in 2013.

"We have to be vigilant. At the same time, we explain to people the workings of the agreement, showing the risks and the opportunities that come from voting 'yes' or 'no'," Mgr Jumoad explained.

The prelate hopes there will be respect for minority religions and groups in the proposed Bangsamoro Region, noting however that "Islam believes in a theocratic form of government."

 


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See also
09/23/2008 PHILIPPINES
Mindanao: 500,000 people without food because of the war
by Santosh Digal
08/18/2008 PHILIPPINES
Showdown between government and MILF before peace deal
09/01/2008 PHILIPPINES
Mindanao: Catholic army officer takes the lead in inter-faith dialogue By Santosh Digal
by Santosh Digal
01/08/2010 PHILIPPINES
Mindanao: spreading a culture of peace through radio
by Santosh Digal
09/01/2010 PHILIPPINES
Maguindanao massacre trial postponed, victims’ relatives protest

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ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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