COTABATO CITY: At least 23 Maranao members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) gathered together to say their prayers during the Salat al-Jamaat or Friday congregational prayer at a Masjid (mosque) in the City of Marawi.
The Friday prayer was conducted at Masjid Saad Huzam Almusairi in Lilod, Marawi City right inside the main battle area, for the first time since the siege on May 23.
It was led by a Maranao Imam, Supt. Ebra Moxsir, also Marawi City new chief of police. Prior to his present assignment, Moxsir was PNP chaplain assigned with the Salaam police in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
In his khutba or sermon, Moxsir said, “three months have passed since the crisis erupted here in Marawi City. Due to this incident, many of us have lost hope and got dismayed. But our solemn prayer and unity among us Muslims are very important in our fight against terrorism.”
“This was the first time that a congregational prayer with security forces was held since the Maute terrorists attacked the city and occupied masjids as strategic structures in the battle-stricken city since May 23,” Senior Supt. Rolando Anduyan, Joint Task Group PNP commander, said.
“It is appropriate that we allow our Muslim brothers time to pray and ask for guidance from Allah especially that the situation now is critical,” Anduyan added.
Muslim soldiers and policemen helped clean and repair the Saad Almusairi Masjid which was used for the first time since May.
“We encourage our men to attend to religious activities even if we are at war. As much as time allows it, we permit our troops to practice their religious beliefs since it is also where most of them get their strength and motivation,” Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., commander of Western Mindanao Command, said.
Meanwhile, policemen were able to recover a baital or Masjid donation box, reportedly taken by the terrorists from the Islamic Center. The donation box was already empty when troops retrieved it in Norhaya village, also in Marawi City.
JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL