Marawi evacuees observe Ramadan amid fighting

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Majority of Muslim evacuees have refrained from eating and drinking water since the Islamic holy month of Ramadan started last week.

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Meanwhile, clashes between government forces and terrorists from the Maute Group entered their 11th day on Saturday as the military continued air strikes on parts of Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, believed to be “controlled” by the enemy.

“Amid war, all we can do is to pray and observe what Allah [God] commanded us to do,” said Minda Acod, 51, of the Muslim faith, a single parent of two and a grandmother of nine.

According to Acod,  she and her two children and in-laws are fasting but her grandchildren are exempted from one of the five pillars of Islam.

She and her family are among thousands of civilians who fled the fighting in Marawi and stayed at an evacuation center in Iligan City, capital of neighboring Lanao del Norte.

Acod thanked humanitarian groups and government agencies that continue to provide them relief goods since they arrived at the shelter.

Clerics said Ramadan is the time for Muslims to refrain from eating, drinking and other “self desires,” like smoking, from dawn to dusk.

Part of the practices during Ramadan is the holding of evening Jama’ah or group prayers called taraweeh in various mosques, where long portions of the Holy Qur’an are usually recited with eight to 20 raka’at or cycles of prayer.

Performing evening prayers at different mosques is difficult for Acod’s family and other evacuees who sought refuge with  their relatives in Iligan since authorities have imposed curfew.

Curfew in Iligan City is from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Mulvi Jamen Sarip said he and his family are performing taraweeh at their relative’s home instead of going to the mosques to avoid arrest for curfew violation.

“Allah [God] will understand the plight of the Muslims affected by the conflict,” Sarip added.

He said failure to perform thetaraweeh is not a sin.

Ramadan began on May 27, or four days after firefights between the Armed Forces and the Maute Group broke out in Marawi.

The extremist group is affiliated with the Islamic State or IS.

MOH SAADUDDIN

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