Cebu Muslims assure unity with Osmeña
As a symbol of unity and cooperation with local authorities, the Cebu Muslim community on Monday gifted Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña with a Moro sword, also known as a “kris”.
Office of Muslim Affairs and Indigenous Cultural Communities (OMAICC) Executive Assistant Sultan Ayaon Punut personally handed the sword to the mayor while saying that this was to be a “symbol of unity and a strong relationship.”
Shaped like a crawling serpent, the kris is the most common type of Moro sword extensively used by the Tausug, Samal and Yakan warriors. It is often given as a gift to high ranking officials and people revered in Muslim society. The sword given to Osmeña was handcrafted in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.
The sword also symbolizes heroism, prowess, power and authority. It is also a cultural symbol for other countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, Singapore and Indonesia.
The Cebu Muslim community recognizes the mayor as “Sultan of Cebu” (king) and his wife, Cebu City Councilor Margarita Osmeña, as “Bai Labi” (queen). Osmeña was bestowed the honorary title way back in the ’90s during his first term as mayor.
“I feel very honored that they have bestowed upon me the blessing. I have accepted it because I think it will help make the Muslim community in the city feel more secure, knowing their mayor is the Sultan. I want the Muslim community here to feel that they belong,” Osmeña told reporters yesterday.
For his part, Punut said that they will continue to cooperate and help maintain peace and order in Cebu City.
Late last year, security concerns were raised after rumors of bomb threats spread all over Cebu following an explosion that injured 32 persons during a town fiesta in Hilongos, Leyte last Dec. 28.
Mobile phone signals were also shut down last January during the solemn procession of the Sto. Niño de Cebu and the Sinulog grand parade where throngs of people converged amid the security jitters.
Cebu Muslim leaders had assured that they were monitoring their local communities to make sure that no terrorists from Mindanao would disrupt the peace.
There are an estimated 10,000 Muslims in Cebu, largely concentrated in the cities of Cebu and Lapu-Lapu.
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