Muslim community hopes for Grand Mosque in Cebu
CEBU CITY, Philippines – The National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) – Visayas is hoping that a Grand Mosque will someday be built in Cebu as the Muslim community continues to grow in the Visayas region.
Director Malo Manonggiring, the head of the NCMF-Visayas, said that with at least five mosques and Islam centers and with over 50,000 Muslim residents in Cebu, a Grand Mosque can help become a solid center for the faith.
“A Grand Mosque will serve as the convergence of faith for Islam in Cebu. It will help Muslims understand each other and keep the peace. As Islam is a religion of peace,” said Manonggiring on June 5, 2019, which is the day the Muslim community commemorated Eid al-Fitr, or the end of Ramadan.
He said that a Grand Mosque will empower the Muslim community with their faith and will also provide leaders, such as the Imams, a place where they can converge and discuss matters of Islam.
However, Manonggiring said the challenge would be procuring the finances to start building the Grand Mosque, as building one would entail resources.
He hopes the Muslim community in Cebu will eventually work together to finance the construction of a Grand Mosque.
The NCMF-Visayas, meanwhile, works continuously with local government units (LGUs) to provide a better quality of life for the Muslims in the region.
Manonggiring said that the goal of the Commission is to advocate for a symbiotic relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims in the region.
He said there remains the mindset of non-Muslims in generally non-Muslim regions such as the Visayas that Muslims are second class citizens, something the commission wants to erase.
“Muslims are not second class citizens. They are Filipino citizens, equal to every other Filipino whatever the religion,” said Manonggiring.
He hopes that Muslims can be allowed to practice their faith and their culture peacefully, without discrimination from non-Muslims.
In turn, he hopes that non-Muslim can become comfortable in living side by side with Muslims and understand the nature of the religion for a harmonic community.
The director also expressed gratitude to the Honorary Sultan of Cebu, outgoing Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, whom, he said, showed so much support to the Muslim community.
He said Osmeña has not only allowed the Muslims to thrive in Cebu City, he has opened opportunities for the Muslim community to establish businesses.
Osmeña, for his part, said he will continue to support the Muslim community even after he is no longer mayor of the city.
In a speech after the Eid al-Fitr prayers of the Muslim community of Cebu at the Plaza Independencia on Wednesday, Osmeña promised to the Muslim community his unending support.
“Hinaot pa unta, bisan pa mobalik sa pribado, andam kong motabang sa mga problema. (Hopefully, even if I go back to my private life, I will be eager to help solve any problems),” Osmeña told the Muslim community.
For the Eid’l Fitr celebration, Manonggiring said that it was a generally peaceful and happy celebration in Cebu.
He said he will be going to Davao on Thursday, June 6, because President Rodrigo Duterte will be hosting his own Eid’l Fitr celebration for the NCMF and the Muslims in Mindanao. /bmjo
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