MSU offers prayer for peace on Lanao del Norte Plebiscite
by Nasrimah R. Sampaco
As religious tension escalates as a result of bombings and killings in places of worship in different parts of Mindanao, Mindanao State University- a multi-ethnic community of scholars- offered prayers for the peaceful conduct of Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) Plebiscite in Lanao del Norte on February 4, 2019 at the Convergence Hall, IPDM, MSU, Marawi City.
This is in response to condemning the recent twin blasts that hit Jolo Cathedral on January 27 which caused the death of 22 people and injured more than 100 persons, and another incident on January 31 at Logoy Diutay, Barangay Talon-Talon in Zamboanga City where a mosque was bombed by unknown perpetrators resulted to the death of two persons and injuries of four individuals.
Members of the Catholic Students Organization of MSU serenaded the crowd with their Christian songs. Father Raymonito Torres, Vicar General of the Prelature of Saint Mary’s in Marawi City, led a prayer where he prayed for the end of conflicts in Mindanao that causing grief and poverty to many innocent people.
One of the well-known Muslim leaders, Ustadz Omar Benito headed the last prayer. He prayed for protection from evil doers spreading evil mischief and bloodshed in Mindanao, and for the realization of peace in the entire island through the successful implementation of BOL.
During the welcome address delivered by Dr. Acram Latip, OIC Director of Institute for Peace and Development in Mindanao (IPDM), the importance of unity among all Mindanaons especially in this parlous time of divisive factionalism was emphasized. “Nandito tayo ngayon upang maipakita ang pagkakaisa ng mga Muslims at Kristiyano sa ating komunidad,” he said.
Dr. Rebecca Alawi, consultant at the Office of the President and one of the professors in MSU, likewise spoke in behalf of Peace Education teachers. She delivered a message that touched the hearts of the crowd with a simple insight on peace. “If we try producing the perfect religion in the world, that is the Religion of Love. That is why when we teach peace to the people, we teach how to love-because love is what unites us all, (sic)” said by Dr. Alawi. “MSU is a mother of peace as it is originally mandated to integrate and unite the diverse ethnic groups in the area,” she added.
One of the eminent Meranaw Muslim scholars and a professor in the History Department, Dr. Tirmizy Abullah was also present in the said event. Participants formed a human circle during the event which according to Dr. Abdullah was a symbol of equality, unity, integrity, and solidarity among Muslims and non-Muslims despite their cultural diversity.
The ecumenical service or Alay Panalangin para sa Kapayapaan proved that Mindanao State University continues to serve as the an instrument in attaining the long-dreamed sustainable peace and development in the entire MINSUPALA Region towards integrating the cultural minorities into the national mainstream society for fraternal co-existence.