MANILA, Philippines – Ramadan is not expected to begin until Wednesday, July 10, but President Benigno Aquino III sent his greetings to the Muslim Filipino community as they enter the observance of Ramadan, and expressed hope the event would bring peace.
This year’s Ramadan coincides with scheduled peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Kuala Lumpur, where both sides are hoping for a significant breakthrough after the MILF has been waging war for more than 3 decades now.
In a statement released on Tuesday, July 9, Aquino expressed hope Ramadan would lead to the peace the government has long sought.
“May this event foster greater understanding and cooperation among our varied faiths, and guide the Philippines towards lasting peace and progress,” he said.
Aquino called the month-long fast “one of the 5 pillars of Islam,” and an occasion that allows “contemplation and atonement.” He wished the community “a solemn and meaningful Ramadan.”
“May your prayer and fasting evoke a deeper and more profound connection with your heritage and faith, inspire discipline, restraint, and generosity of spirit; and help guide you towards becoming greater embodiments of harmony and social justice,” it read.
The start of Ramadan depends on the sighting of the crescent moon, which marks the start of a new month in the lunar calendar. Originally expected on Monday night – so it could usher the Ramadan on Tuesday – the crescent moon wasn’t visible, hence the delayed start on Wednesday. – Rappler.com