Press Release
July 17, 2015


Today, we celebrate with our Filipino Muslim brothers and sisters the end of their month-long fast.

Thirteen years ago, Eid'ul Fitr was declared a national holiday in the Philippines, a predominantly Christian country, to foster peace and goodwill with Muslim Filipinos.

Eid'ul Fitr marks not just the end of Ramadan but the beginning of the Shawwal, the 10th month of the lunar year. After 30 days of sacrifice, Muslims join their friends and family in a feast, giving thanks to Allah and practicing charity by giving food to others.

Today, I am reminded of how similar we are, Christians and Muslims. We like to share the most important moments with those we love. We value family; we come home as much as we can. Many Muslims here in Manila are traveling to Mindanao so they can be in an environment that highlights their culture.

Having the same core values, we have no compelling reason to dwell on our differences. If we share the same love for family, respect for tradition and devotion to our God/Allah, then all other differences are minor. There is nothing we cannot resolve, employing such respect and sincere desire to live in peace.

From hereon, I urge everyone to fast from discrimination and narrow-mindedness, and to celebrate the richness of our culture as seen in our diversity as a people.

Together, let us cleanse our nation of the spirit of division that has hindered us from achieving what we all want--lasting peace and shared prosperity.

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