Muslim devotees praying

By Agenzia Fides

Sep 28 2020

ZAMBOANGA – “We try not only to protect ourselves and to counter the spread of the virus, but also to make our experience and our service meaningful for the common good. This is the effort that the movement for Islamic-Christian Silsilah dialogue, in the Southern Philippines makes”: with these words Fr. Sebastiano D’Ambra, PIME missionary in Zamboanga (on the Philippine island of Mindanao) presents the purposes of the new initiative to Agenzia Fides: the in-depth program called “Living Faith” which explores the “99 names of Allah” and the evangelical Beatitudes. The program is broadcast online and on various social network channels and will last, with one episode per week, for twenty weeks.

Father Sebastiano D’Ambra, PIME, founder of “Silsilah”, executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission for interreligious dialogue, explains that “this is a new challenge for us in Silsilah, but also for those who participate in the program. Different leaders, ustadz and Muslim imams will help the audience, which is international. Many students from the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia have applied for the course. Among the speakers there are also Silsilah, scholars, religious personalities, while all the participants can submit comments and ask for further information”.

“A very positive fact – notes the missionary – is that even the Muslim faithful have been called to deepen their faith more and to live their faith day by day, in the conviction of belonging to the same human fraternity”. “Christians too – he continues – are asked to have a different attitude in their relations with Muslims, despite the alarming news coming from neighboring Muslim areas. In Jolo, 2 bombs recently killed and injured many innocent people. We are still faced with the reality of groups that claim to be Muslim, but fall into the category of violent extremism”.

Another initiative of the “Silsilah” Movement in the same direction is to collect and disseminate “Stories of change”: those of people who, passing joyful and painful life events, have changed their relationships with transferors of faiths other than their own and today they walk in the spirit of dialogue and solidarity. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 26/9/2020)