IFTAR Celebration, A “Family Tradition”

Once again, as they have done for the past many years during the Holy Month of Ramadan, Zamboanga City’s Muslim and Christian religious leaders held a fast-breaking Iftar ceremony, or “pagbukah” in the Tausug vernacular, last Sunday, August 11.

The event was especially poignant and meaningful because for the first time it was hosted by and held at the urban poor housing project site of Kalambuan Housing Association in Barangay Maasin. Slipper-wearing Muslim and Christian residents of the 300-unit homesite, facilitated by Katilingban Para Sa Kalambuan, Inc., (www.zabida.com.ph) freely mixed with their “distinguished guests” belonging to the sponsor Inter-Religious Solidarity Movement for Peace (IRSMP) and its guests from various organizations, including the military, police and some barangay councils. The breaking of bread get-together, around a “family table” encounter amongst members of the two great faiths, was worth more than a million peace talk agreements. (Social and inter-cultural harmony effort is and should not be like an iron chain but as a necessary path – historically a long and winding one – of, for and by the people.)

IRSMP Muslim convenor Prof. Ali Yacub in explaining to participants the meaning of Iftar said the event is usually reserved as a nuclear family occasion. But to show their appreciation and requit the proferred hand of solidarity extended them, the Muslim leaders and families were happy to be in the Kalambuam Iftar. Indeed, the ordinariness of the “pagbukah” food only served to highlight the extraordinary sentiments that pervaded the assembly.

In the short after-dinner program, guest speaker Al-Rahimin Theo Kenoh, administrative officer of the regional office of the Department of Education, described the many ways how a Muslim can contribute to the achieving of peace and justice in society.

In his remarks, PAZ president and IRSMP lead convenor Fr. Angel Calvo reflected that the spiritual and social meanings and teachings of Ramadan are given expression and reality through the Iftar. God’s special oneness with humanity, he said, is realized at the moment of the Iftar when people, whichever their religious beliefs or social status in life, come together around a table to share God’s blessings, especially the blessing of their simple selves, with one another. In a world plagued by pessimism, cynicism and distrust, it is a message worth more than all the world’s gold.(Rey-Luis Banagudos/Peace Advocates Zamboanga) — Iftar 2012

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