by Christine Godinez Ortega

About 250 faculty members, students and other guests attended an Interfaith rally for peace and for the people of Gaza as well as during the observance of Iftar on Monday, July 21, 2014 at the Institute’s Flag Pole grounds before the Administration building.

Iftar literally means “breakfast” to mark the end of fasting after Maghrib, or at sunset, celebrated during the month of Ramadan. As practiced, food provided by the Risalie Nur Institute was served to all those who attended the interfaith rally for peace.

The rally was organized by the Institute for Peace and Development in Mindanao (IPDM) along with other organizations and offices such as the OVCRE’s Department of Extension, the Association of MSU-IIT Muslim Employees (AMMEI), the MSU-IIT Muslim Students Association (MIMSA), MSU-IIT Youth Chain for Peace (MYCOP), and the student government Kataastaasang Samahan ng mga Magaaral (KASAMA).

After the reading from the Holy Q’uran by Hafiz Mehmed Ali of the Risalei Nur Institute, Prof. Juvanni A. Caballero, OIC of the IPDM gave the rationale of the gathering.

He emphasized that the prayer rally was for humane reasons in the light of the violence in Gaza where civilians have been hit the hardest; of the victims of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq; and, recently, of the death of almost 200 passengers of a Malaysian MH17 plane that flew over the Ukraine air space separatists allegedly mistook to be a spy or military plane.

A Catholic priest, Fr. Albert Mendez, a Seventh Day Adventist pastor Danny M. Diaz, Anglican Bishop Estephen Villaester, and Qadi Ismael Alango of AMMEI and Jamal M. Baulo of MIMSA took turns praying for world peace and urged the audience to stand against injustice and violence.

Chancellor Sukarno D. Tanggol welcomed the audience while Dr. Muhammad Riza Derindag, founding president of the Risalei Nur Institute gave a brief background of Palestinian issues before he made his appeal to end the ongoing bombardment of Gaza.

A half Filipino, half Palestinian MSU-IIT BS Biology student, Moslem Fatash rued the fact that his people could no longer find places to run to from the bombardment and that the hardships and sufferings of the Palestinians, including his relatives, are next to unbearable on the Gaza strip.

Placards that said “Save Gaza” and “Stop Killing our Brothers and Sisters” as well as masks painted with the Palestinian colors and Palestinian flags were prominently displayed throughout the peace rally.

–by Christine Godinez Ortega for OC-OPI

Topics : ipdm