It has been almost 10 weeks since the Islamic State group, the Maute brothers have invaded the city of Marawi. Over 300,000 people have fled the city, and while some have gone to stay with family, most have gone to the evacuation centers in Manila. To much surprise, Muslims and Christians have learned to live peacefully with one another in such close proximity. The Muslims even invited the Christian neighbors to part in a meal called “Iftar” during Ramadan. These peaceful interactions are lights amidst the conflict in Marawi.
07/28/2017 The Philippines (Canadian Inquirer) – For several weeks now, the gymnasium in Maria Cristina, Lanao del Norte has been home to hundreds of evacuees who fled the armed conflict in Marawi City.
The situation at the gymnasium is typical of the situation in most evacuation centers — cramped, humid and very little privacy for the people who have sought shelter there.
Despite these seemingly difficult conditions however, the evacuees — Muslims and Christians — have managed to co-exist peacefully and productively.
In the morning, Muslim and Christian women swept the surroundings and washed clothes, while their husbands fetched water and did carpentry work.
On the other hand, their children played and ran around the gymnasium, pretending that the place is a park where they could do anything as their imagination desired.
But it was during evenings of last month, when these Muslim and Christian families came together and showed that religion is not a barrier in forging true, lasting friendships.