Muslims pray wars to end, want grand mosque for Cebu

Muslims pray wars to end, want grand mosque for Cebu
(File Photo)

PEACE in countries affected by war and conflict was the prayer offered by the Muslims in Cebu City as the holy month of Ramadan in the Islamic faith ended Wednesday, April 10, 2024.

Meanwhile, they continued to hope that their dream of having a grand mosque in Cebu would be realized, according to Cebuano Muslim leader Ijodin Saripada Mamacol.

Over 2,000 Muslims congregated on Wednesday to celebrate Eid’l Fitr or the Festival of Breaking the Fast.

“Peace and order. Let us really include in our prayers that all conflicts in the world will be resolved, especially in parts of the world where there’s war,” he told SunStar Cebu.

The Eid’l Fitr celebration marks the conclusion of Ramadan, during which Muslims pray, reflect on the teachings of Quran and fast for 30 days.

Fasting, one of Islam’s five pillars, symbolizes a spiritual struggle against desires while strengthening bonds. The other pillars are faith declaration, daily prayers, almsgiving and pilgrimage.

Mamacol said wars, especially the Israel-Gaza conflict should cease as it affects Filipinos, Palestinians and civilians.

In October 2023, SunStar Cebu reported there were 588 overseas Filipino workers from Central Visayas employed in Israel, mostly as caregivers, according to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration. There was no figure available for the number of people working in West Bank and Gaza.

A youth’s profession

Grade 11 student Jasmin Lacoto shared her experiences in participating in the month-long Ramadan. The 18-year-old Muslim, who celebrated Eid’l Fitr with her family, said that she observed other youth are no longer taking fasting seriously.

“For me, it is really important, to join [as youth] fasting in Ramadan since it professes love to our God and shows commitment to our religion,” she said.

Mamacol said that at least 2,500 Muslims joined the celebration, including locals, individuals from other parts of the Philippines, and even foreigners residing in Cebu for study and work.

Last year, they estimated that only 2,000 Muslims joined the event. He added that aside from the celebration in Plaza Independencia, at least 13 masjids and mosques in Cebu also organized their own celebrations.

Grand mosque

Meanwhile, Mamacol expressed the Muslim community’s long-standing desire to have their own grand mosque, which they believe will enhance their Islamic faith. Although he acknowledged it would be a lengthy process, the community is seeking support from the Cebu City Government in acquiring the land for the religious infrastructure.

Mamacol noted that among the major cities in the country, only Cebu does not have its own grand mosque. In June last year, SunStar Cebu asked Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama if he would help build a grand mosque, to which the mayor replied he preferred it to be built in the South Road Properties.

Mamacol said that they are still in talks with the Cebu City Government on the matter.

Previously, he already said that in terms of funding for the creation of the grand mosque, he expects significant assistance from other Islamic countries.

Currently, Cebu City is home to around 9,000 Muslims, up from last year’s estimated count of 6,000 during the Eid’l Adha celebrations.

Eid’l Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, is a major holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide for three to four days.

The Muslim leader noted that 80 percent of Cebu City’s Muslim population are Maranao, with the rest belonging to the Maguindanaon and Tausug tribes. / KJF


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