This message comes from Mindanao, Philippines and it is the voice of a Movement that in 1984 started to invite, especially Muslims and Christians, but also people of other living faiths, to build together a “chain”/”link” (Silsilah) of love convinced that all of us are part of the same human family, created by the same God.
This basic concept has been always supported by the spirituality of life-in-dialogue with God, with the Self, with Others and with Creation to promote a sustainable Culture of Dialogue, Path to Peace in our society.
This year 2018, we have reflected on our mission in the midst of an increasing violence and conflict in Mindanao, as well in other parts of the world. We are alarmed of many signs of violence, especially among Muslims groups fighting in the name of Islam. This is now an international reality visible also in Mindanao among groups that are fighting guided by their understanding of the “true Islam”.
What appears clear to us is that the victims are the Christians and also Muslims who do not have the same “ideological” understanding of Islam. It was a time when the relation among Christians and Muslims in Mindanao was better even in majority populated Muslim areas like Jolo, in the Southern part of the Philippines. Before the Christians there were free to go to the church and practice their regular Christian life. Now the church in the city of Jolo has to be protected by the military to protect the Christians who are in danger. This and many other alarming stories are the causes of sadness also among good Muslims, commonly called “Moderate Muslims”. They too live in fear because they are not “good Muslims” in the eyes of those who are practicing a more radical understanding of Islam that justifies violence.
In this situation, Silsilah this year in preparation for the 35h Anniversary of the Movement that will be on May 9, 2019, decided to move with more determination guided by the theme: “Silsilah, a sign of hope in the midst of divisions and conflicts”.
In this Holy Month of Ramadhan for the Muslim world, Silsilah wishes to share solidarity with the Muslims and reaffirm the belief that Islam can still contribute in the world today for a better future for all because Islam reminds us, among the many things, the value of prayer, fasting and attention to the needy, especially during the Holy month of Ramadhan.