Duterte urges Muslims to deepen faith as nation marks festival

Filipino women celebrate Eid Al-Adha at the Luneta Park in Manila. (AFP)
Updated 11 August 2019

Duterte urges Muslims to deepen faith as nation marks festival

  • Duterte: “In the name of Allah, the most gracious, the most merciful, I join our Muslim brothers and sisters in observing Eid Al-Adha

MANILA: Thousands of Filipino Muslims gathered throughout the country on Sunday to celebrate Eid Al-Adha, or the Feast of the Sacrifice, one of the most important holidays of the Islamic calendar.

The celebrations took place as President Rodrigo Duterte called on Muslims in the country to deepen their faith and strengthen their resolve “to bring about a society that is worthy of Allah’s continued blessings and protection.”

In a message released by Malacañang (presidential palace) on Sunday, Duterte said: “In the name of Allah, the most gracious, the most merciful, I join our Muslim brothers and sisters in observing Eid Al-Adha or the Feast of the Sacrifice.”

He said that Ibrahim’s “complete willingness to offer the life of his beloved son in obedience to Allah’s divine command, is one of the most memorable demonstrations of faith of all time.”

This account, he said, “not only teaches us the importance of personal sacrifice, but also inculcates in us the value of submission to a higher authority, even though, at times, our feelings and emotions compel us otherwise.

“Truly, this feast’s narrative continues to resonate in our present time. Now, more than ever, we are called to lend a piece of ourselves to endeavors that redound to the common good and benefit the most people,” he added.

Let us, therefore, said Duterte, reflect on the lessons we can learn today to deepen our faith and strengthen our resolve to bring about a society that is worthy of Allah’s continued blessings and protection. “May you have a meaningful observance! Eid Mubarak!” The president earlier declared Aug. 12 a regular holiday throughout the country in observance of Eid Al-Adha.

On Sunday morning, as the weather prevailed following days of continuous rain, thousands of Filipino Muslims gathered in mosques.

Ibrahim’s complete willingness to offer the life of his beloved son in obedience to Allah’s divine command, is one of the most memorable demonstrations of faith of all time.

Rodrigo Duterte, Philippine president

As early as 4 a.m., mosques such as the Blue Mosque in Taguig, Golden Mosque and Cultural Center and Quirino Grandstand in Manila, and the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City were full for traditional prayer services.

After the early services, worshippers stayed for 7 a.m. prayers followed by the sermon of the imam.

At the covered court in the Quezon Memorial Circle, youth Filipinos from Maguindanao performed the Sagayan war dance in colorful clothes.

To ensure smooth celebrations, policemen were deployed to maintain peace and order.

Representatives from the National Capital Region Police Office participated in the congregational prayer in celebration of the police Feast of Sacrifice. The prayer in Camp Crame was attended by Police Col. Ebra Moxsir of the PNP Chaplain Service and Salaam police personnel and their families.

UAE Ambassador Hamad Saeed Al-Zaabi joined Eid celebrations in Lanao Del Sur after visiting war-torn Marawi.

Al-Zaabi led the distribution of cow meat and other basic needs in one of the temporary shelters for residents displaced by the five-month Marawi siege.

The envoy committed assistance from his country for the rehabilitation of the city.

 Meanwhile, Vice President Leni Robredo urged the public to remember and pray for those displaced by the 2017 siege who “continue to make sacrifices and are striving to recover.”

 Robredo also called for the unity of Filipinos despite differences in religious beliefs.


Migrant surge overwhelms Greek islands

Updated 22 min 34 sec ago

Migrant surge overwhelms Greek islands

  • The number of people reaching Greeks islands in the eastern Aegean Sea is the highest since the EU reached a €6 billion agreement in 2016 to prevent migrants from leaving the coast of Turkey
  • The surge started before Turkey’s military offensive against Kurdish fighters in Syria, but there are concerns that it could grow much bigger

SKALA, Greece: Greece’s eastern islands are struggling to cope with a surge in arrivals of migrants and asylum-seekers that has undermined efforts to ease severe overcrowding at refugee camps.
The number of people reaching Lesbos, Samos and other Greeks islands in the eastern Aegean Sea is the highest since the European Union reached a 6 billion-euro agreement in 2016 to prevent migrants from leaving the coast of Turkey and heading to the EU.
The surge started before Turkey’s military offensive against Kurdish fighters in Syria, but there are concerns that it could grow much bigger. Since the offensive began last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sought to quell European criticism by warning that he could “open the gates” and send more than 3 million Syrian refugees to Europe.
Dinghies carrying migrants from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere are reaching the islands despite enhanced coast guard patrolling in recent weeks supported by the Greek military.
This is exacerbating problems at crowded refugee camps. A deadly fire at the Moria refugee camp on Lesbos on Sept. 29 triggered riots at the site, which is at 400% capacity.
The Greek government promised to accelerate transfers to the mainland and expand the network of camps there. But those transfers have so far been outnumbered by new arrivals on the islands.
Human rights group Amnesty International has described Moria as “overcrowded and unsafe” and urged other European Union countries to help Greece settle asylum-seekers.
Authorities fear that if the arrival numbers remain high through October, a winter crisis will be difficult to avoid.
Greece’s new conservative government says it also plans to detain migrants without the right to request asylum and wants to resume deportations back to Turkey under terms detailed in the 2016 EU-Turkey deal.