Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

Southern Bishops Keen To Work On Concerns In Muslims’ Letter For Pope

ICC Note:

The Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy is hoping to present a letter to Pope Benedict XVI during the Catholic-Muslim meeting at the Vatican to appeal for his help in convincing “the Philippine government and the MILF to go back to the negotiating table as soon as possible.”

_________________

11/5/08 Philippines (UCAN) Bishops in Mindanao, the southern Philippine region, are interested in working on concerns a Muslim movement is raising in a letter it wants to present to Pope Benedict XVI during the ongoing Catholic-Muslim meeting at the Vatican.

In an open letter to the pope, the Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy (PCID) appeals for his help to “convince the Philippine government and the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) to go back to the negotiating table as soon as possible.” The rebels have been fighting since the 1970s for self-rule in claimed Muslim territories.

According to Archbishop Antonio Ledesma of Cagayan de Oro, “Anything that deals with the end of fighting and aid to victims is of great concern to the bishops.” He said on Nov. 4, “Mindanao bishops would be happy to listen to the letter and see what actions they could take.”

Members of PCID, a non-governmental organization that works for the stated goals of peace, progress and democracy in predominantly Muslim areas of Mindanao, said they hope the pope will “appeal for restraint” in the use of arms “for the protection of all civilians.” They are also seeking a papal appeal to allow the flow of “speedy humanitarian assistance to the affected population.”

More than 100 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled villages in central and southern Mindanao since the military intensified operations against the MILF. Some MILF groups reportedly attacked villages without approval of the front’s central leadership after government and MILF negotiators failed to sign a peace agreement in early August.

Go to Full Story