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» 11/29/2011
PHILIPPINES
Mindanao: young Christians and Muslims against the law on birth control
In Basilan more than 100 young people from interfaith movement of Silsilah confront the issue of abortion and family planning. Muslims and Christians object to the use of public money to spread a culture contrary to life among people.

Zamboanga (AsiaNews) - Young Christians and Muslims in Mindanao, are saying no to the controversial law on birth control for months awaiting parliament’s final approval. Today, about 100 students of the Interfaith Council of Leaders, a group born in the Silsilah movement for interreligious dialogue, met in Basilan (Mindanao) to discuss the topic of abortion and family planning as a solution to poverty. The event takes place one day after the attack on the 'Asturias Hotel in Zamboanga, which left 3 dead and 27 wounded. The explosion occurred during the wedding of a Christian couple. According to the police the Islamic terrorists of Abu Sayyaf are behind the atatck.

Fr. Sebastiano D'Ambra, a missionary of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) in Zamboanga and founder of Silsilah, notes the desire of many young people to work together, despite the fear, the mistrust and tensions. He said that Muslim students who participated in the Law on family planning advocate the position of the Church, contrary to the policies of the Act which provide for distribution of condoms, abortion pills and forced sterilizations. "The young people returned very excited about the meeting - said the priest - this is an important sign, especially in this period when the debate has passed into the background because of the trial of former President Gloria Arroyo."

The debate on the Reproductive Health Bill has been ongoing for four years. It rejects clinical abortion, but promotes a family planning program, urging couples to have no more than two children, penalizes conscientious objection of doctors and health professionals and promotes voluntary sterilization. Church and Catholic associations argue the Natural Family Programme (NFP), which aims to spread a culture of responsibility and love based on Christian values among the population.

These days, Edcel Lagman, one of the main promoters of the law, called on the lower house to stop the continual requests for discussion of the decree and set a date for final approval. Local sources say this is a way to put pressure on President Aquino, who for months continues to postpone the vote of the law not to lose the favor of the Catholic Church.

Catholics especially complain of the excessive funds necessary to implement the contents of the law, amounting to over 50 million Euros. They will go to sex education programs in all schools across the country, public and private, including primary. In a recent meeting in Manila organized by the young pro-life association of Youth United for the Manila (YUP), some experts pointed out that the problem of poverty can not be defeated by fewer children, but supporting education, businesses and associations that help the poor. According to them, the amount paid by the State to implement the norm is an unnecessary expense. This sum would cover the expenses of more than 4 thousand classrooms, fund scientific research of over 300 thousand students, create scholarships for thousands of poor students and pay the salaries of around 13 t


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See also
05/20/2011 PHILIPPINES
Cagayan de Oro:church and government promote natural family planning methods
02/12/2010 PHILIPPINES
Mindanao: relations and dialogue between Christians and Muslims continue despite violence
by Santosh Digal
12/22/2009 PHILIPPINES
Educating children to avert a culture of violence in Mindanao
by Santosh Digal
06/09/2004 PHILIPPINES
Dialogue group sponsors training for natural health
12/12/2012 PHILIPPINES
Birth control bill goes to the Senate after House approval

Editor's choices
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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