Duterte to Filipino Muslims: Foster national unity amid differences in faith, culture

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Friday joined the nation in celebrating Eid’l Fitr (Feast of Ramadan), calling all Filipinos to unite in attaining “long-lasting peace” in the country, especially in Mindanao.

In his Eid’l Fitr message, Duterte expressed hope that this year’s celebration would inspire all members of the Filipino Muslim community to “foster greater unity” in working towards peace and development in the country.

“I join our Muslim brothers and sisters as they mark the end of Ramadan and reaffirm their commitment to self-purification and jubilation… In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, may the peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you all on the occasion of Eid’l Fitr,” Duterte said.

“This is in an opportune time to reflect on the progress we have made to achieve long-lasting peace across the country, especially in Mindanao. May this revered festival inspire us all to foster greater unity amidst our differences in faith and culture,” he added.

During Ramadan, Duterte said Filipino Muslims should thank Allah ” for providing our nation the strength to endure the challenges of misguided ideologies, terrorism and violent extremism.”

“I trust that the sacrifice of Muslim Filipinos during their month-long fasting has rekindled their faith and reawakened their sense of benevolence and empathy towards their fellowmen,” the President said.

“Together, let us engage in acts of charity as we steer our nation towards a more progressive and tolerant future. May love and understanding prevail over our land as we work hard for the genuine transformation of the Philippines for every Filipino,” he added.

According to the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, the Eid’l Fitr, a three-day feast includes a gathering of family and friends to pray and eat together. Muslims put on their finest clothes for the celebration and some even exchange gifts.

It said Eid’l Fitr was meant to celebrate happiness for completing a month-long abstinence from eating and drinking between dawn and sunset for Ramadan, one of the five pillars of Islam.

During Ramadan, Muslims are also required to increase their offering of prayers and recitation of the Quran. CATHERINE S. VALENTE

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