MUSLIMS begin the Ramadan month of fasting today amid calls for prayer and peace in Mindanao, which is under martial law following attacks by Islamic State-linked terrorists in Marawi City.
The Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy, in a statement, said the violent attacks in the Islamic city of Marawi and Lanao del Sur province were “made more heinous as [they]occurred as the Muslim faithful are preparing for the holy month of Ramadhan.”
The center, led by Amina Rasul, condemned the attacks but at the same time urged the government to make sure that martial law would not “compromise” people’s lives and democratic principles.
“Any act inciting to terror in the hearts of defenseless civilians, the destruction of places of worship and properties, the murder of innocent men, women, and children irrespective of one’s faith are all forbidden and detestable acts according to Islam,” the statement said.
“Sowing terror through force and violence has always been an invalid means of attaining societal changes, and cannot be justified through faith or religion,” it added.
“As the Muslim ummah (community) enters Ramadhan, we can only pray for wisdom, peace, and understanding.”
Ramadan also begins today in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, religious authorities in both countries announced.
The announcements came after religious authorities in the two Gulf Arab countries failed to sight the crescent moon on Thursday night, state media reported.
The Sunni mufti of Lebanon, Abdullatif Deryan, also announced that Saturday would be the start of Ramadan.
During Ramadan, Muslims around the world abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and having sex from dawn to dusk.
They break the fast with a meal known as iftar and before dawn they have a second opportunity to eat and drink during suhur.
Ramadan is sacred to Muslims because tradition says the Koran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed during that month.
Ramadan is followed by the feast of Eid’l Fitr.