Peace Advocates Zamboanga. Muslims around the world, including the five or so millions who live in the Philippines, are celebrating the joyous feast of Eid’l Fitri this week starting August 19. It is happening at a time of fast- breaking, history-changing challenges – not only for Muslim societies but for Christians and practically all of mankind – that can be resolved better, more positively when Eid’l Fitri’s traditional themes of respect, reconciliation and renewal of life are diligently and widely practiced and applied.
In its solidarity message, entitled “Educating Young Christians and Muslims for Justice and Peace”, Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, emphasized that:
“In the tormented world of ours, educating the young for peace becomes increasingly urgent. To engage ourselves in an adequate manner, the true nature of peace must be understood: that it is not limited to the mere absence of war, or to a balance between opposing forces, but is at one and the same time a gift from God and a human endeavour to be pursued without ceasing. It is a fruit of justice and an effect of charity. It is important that believers are always active in the communities they belong to: by practising compassion, solidarity, collaboration and fraternity, they can effectively contribute towards addressing the great challenges of today: harmonious growth, integral development, prevention and resolution of conflicts, to name just a few.”
There is hardly any society or government – including the more developed ones – in the world today that does not face tremendous and to many immediate threats to social peace, economy, environment and political stability. Resources to survive or prosper are running thin and competition for these and for profit is brutal. The international economic system hugely favors the rich and powerful and works hard against the well- being of the 95-percent majority of world population, especially the poor, and of politically- and morally-paralyzed governments (that’s why governments are going bankrupt). These business goliaths are the new barbarians at the gates, brandishing weapons of wickedness and greed. And where once they were only local Caligulas, modernization and technologies have given them a totally global power and imperial grasp.
Thanks to traditions like the Eid’l Fitri and the wise and courageous values and dreams they promote and teach, there is hope to defeat those goliaths. It has happened in Libya, Egypt, Iraq, etc. and now in Syria. At different spheres and slower burn, the struggle for fairer relationships is happening too in many Western countries.
Faith-based traditions and cultural values have immense transformative power, which can be multiplied by the use of modern communication technology, to change or save this “tormented world.” But only if we the davids and mohammads are in prophetic and paradoxical solidarity – the greater and sooner the better. So we in Peace Advocates Zamboanga and Inter- Religious Solidarity Movement for Peace greet and say to all Muslims: Salamat Hariraya Puasa! Happy Eid’l Fitri!