OVER 3,000 Muslims gathered on Friday morning, September 1, at Pelaez Sports Complex, Cagayan de Oro City to celebrate Eid'l Adha, an Islamic festival celebrated worldwide.
The annual event highlighted relief goods distribution for the thousands of Marawi residents who fled their residences and stayed in the city due to the ongoing conflict in Marawi.
Bai Norhata Alonto, a Marawi resident and wife of Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) Secretary Datu Abul Khayr Alonto, said in an interview that this year's celebration of the Eid'l Adha is "very significant" especially for the Marawi residents.
"This is the festival of sacrifice, this is the day when prophet Ibrahim sacrificed his son Ishmael because he was commanded through Angel Gabriel to slaughter his son, on this day, in obedience to God. He was so willing, pero in the end, it was a test lang pala, because miraculously his son was replaced by a sheep," Alonto said.
"That's why this way is very significant for us, kasi ngayon, the Marawi people are the ones being sacrificed now, if only to put an end to terrorism in this country, and in the Asian neighborhood,” Alonto added.
"Because if you cannot put an end to the terrorism in Marawi, mag-spread yan, it will come to Cagayan de Oro, to Cebu and anywhere else in the country. I have to say, what they are doing is not Islamic, it's not even jihad, kasi when you declare jihad, you have to protect Muslims, not only his life, but his property, his wellness and his sanity, so they're doing the opposite," she said.
Jalani Pablia, Muslim Youth Council adviser said, the prayers offered for Eid'l Adha are centered on the Marawi conflict, calling an end to the siege that already claimed hundreds of lives and loss of properties.
"This is just a test for us given by our Allah," he said.
"Sana malutas na ang problemang kinakaharap natin sa Marawi, at makabalik na ang mga tao, matapos na ang digmaan, at bumalik na tayo sa normal na situation," he said.
For Turkish Dr. Mehmet Derindag, he’s been praying that long lasting peace will prevail not only in Mindanao but for the whole world, which is confronting the same problem - terrorism.
Derindag said for the last three months, his organization, the Turkish-Filipinos Friendship Association are distributing goods to the displaced families, particularly, halal meat.
"We have been doing this for the last 10 years, so we have an association here and we help distribute goods and meats to the families during Eid'l Adha, each family will be given 4 or 5 kilos of meat, and around 30,000 families would receive it," he said.
"I pray that there will be long lasting peace in Mindanao, and in the whole world, we want all the conflict and misunderstandings to end, and for everyone, as a human being, they should have the freedom to live the lives they wanted, the right to life, right of religious expression, and all kinds of freedom that the Almighty God has bestowed on us," Derindag said.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 02, 2017.