Celso hosts 9th Pagbukah PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 15 August 2012 14:35

Committed to the advocacy to strengthen Muslim-Christian relationship,

Mayor Celso Lobregat yesterday afternoon joined the Muslims in the pagbukah or breaking of the fast in observance of the month of Ramadan.

The Pagbukah (If’tar in Arabic) was the 9th for the city government and was initiated by Mayor Lobregat when he first assumed office in 2004. It is a demonstration of the present administration’s sincere appreciation and a show of solidarity and respect for the Muslim community in the city.

Facilitated by City Hall Executive Assistants Amilpasa Bandaying [on Muslim Affairs] and Mario Roca [barangay affairs], over 300 people from the city’s Muslim community that composed of Ulamas, barangay leaders, city officials, police and military officers and representatives from the academe and non-government organizations (NGOs) were expected to participate in the city government-sponsored breaking of the fast at the Convention Center of the Garden Orchid Hotel yesterday afternoon.

Mayor Lobregat has always emphasized that in Zamboanga City people practice more than tolerance. “We not only tolerate but we understand each other’s culture and belief. That is why in Zamboanga we live in perfect peace and harmony with each other.”

Islam, like all other faiths, he said, is respected and practiced in Zamboanga in complete freedom as guaranteed under the constitution. He likewise stressed on the importance for all sectors to emphasize on the things that bind Muslims and Christians together and not on the differences. 

Last week, Mayor Lobregat also had the opportunity of sharing an If’tar meal through an invitation from the Turkish community managing the Filipino Turkish Tolerance School where he emphasized the commonalities between Christians and Muslims following the five pillars of Islam.

In professing that there is only One God, he said “we too profess in One God. We may have different names of our God but certainly we all have only One God.”

Giving of zakat is another pillar of Islam. “For Christians, we also give alms to the needy. Every time we hear mass, alms are collected. That is zakat for Christians.”

The third pillar of Islam is praying five times. “Although Muslims pray more than Christians, but we all pray in a day,” the mayor said.

Another pillar of Islam is fasting in the month of Ramadan. “We Christians do fast but during Holy Week when we observe abstinence.”

The last pillar of Islam is pilgrimage to Mecca. “We Christians also have pilgrimage to the Holy Land,” Lobregat said in explaining the commonality among Muslims’ and Christians’ beliefs. — Sheila Covarrubias