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ANS – Muslims and Christians belonging to various groups advocating tranquility and harmony recently observed “Mindanao Peace Week” urging all sectors, politicians and levels to help peace in the Mindanao region of the Philippines .

Pastors, Catholic priests, imams, Arabic teachers, government employees, military and police officials, students, local officials, indigenous people and housewives trooped to the streets and open fields in Kidapawan City and also in the cities of Iligan, Catabato, Maawi and General Santos City , in observance of the peace week that started Nov 29.

Mindanao is the mainly Muslim-populated Island in the Philippines . For last 40 years there has been constant strife between Christians and Muslims. So, church leaders from various denominations have been making concerted efforts to foster and maintain peace in the region. There are about eight million Muslims in the country, which is Asia ’s largest per-capita Christian nation.

General Santos City Mayor Pedro B. Acharon Jr., started the celebration on Nov 29 with a parade in the city and simple program during which speakers underscored the need for peace as the “mother of requirements” in bringing development to Mindanao, local scribe Ghandi Kinjiyo said.

In his welcome address, Acharon exhorted his people to continue their vigilance to help keep peace in the region.

The city has been facing security threats from a number of groups. Bombings have also rocked the city.

Meanwhile, governmental officials are also doing their best to ascertain peace measures in the region.

In Manila city proper, government officials organized seminars for Muslim and Christian school children to enhance their mutual understanding of each other religions and foster dialogue and appreciation.