FRI-SAT-SUN-MON
April 28-May 1, 2000
volume 11, no. 82
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NEWS & VIEWS     Acknowledgments
Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

CATHOLIC, MUSLIM LEADERS ASK FOR END TO FIGHTING IN PHILIPPINES

    MANILA (CWNews.com/Fides) - The Bishops-Ulama Forum, headed by Archbishop Fernando Capalla of Davao and Dr. Mahid Mutilan, president of the Muslim Ulama League of the Philippines, on Wednesday asked for an immediate cease-fire in fighting between government troops and extremist Muslim rebel groups in the southern Mindanao region.

    The religious leaders said in a joint statement, "Many evacuees are suffering from the present hostilities. (There are presently about 60,000 displaced evacuees.) We are asking for assistance for all displaced communities - Muslim, Christian, and Lumad (indigenous peoples)."

    The Bishops-Ulama Forum (BUF), organized in 1996, is a dialogue forum consisting of the Catholic bishops of Mindanao, Ulama (Muslim religious leaders), and Protestant National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) bishops who affirmed their common commitment to the peace process on the island.

    The leaders made a distinction between the hostage issue in Basilan and the conflict in Central Mindanao. "The conflict in Basilan involves the Abu Sayyaf, a group whose tactics are condemned even by Islam and concerned Muslim leaders," they said. "The situation in Central Mindanao, particularly in Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur, involves the Muslim Independent Liberation Front (MILF) which represents the aspirations of the Muslim community for a genuine participation in the running of their own political and economic affairs." The rebel groups are fighting to establish an independent Muslim homeland in the area.

    They reiterated that this is not a religious war between Christian and Muslim communities, but an armed confrontation between the Philippine military and the MILF. They strongly "condemn the formation of any extremist vigilante groups, which will only polarize cultural communities."

    "We ask for the peace process to continue. Peace talks should resume and be given more time. We support the initiative of women leaders who have recently talked to the leadership of both the MILF and the Philippine government," the religious leaders said.

          

April 28-May 1, 2000
volume 11, no. 84
NEWS & VIEWS

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