EID AL-FITR GATHERING. Muslims gather at the public plaza of La Paz district in Iloilo City to celebrate Eid al Fitr on Wednesday (June 5, 2019). Sultan Sammy Hadjimanan, spokesperson of the Iloilo United Muslim Community, praised the Ilonggos for keeping the city free from any form of religious discrimination. (Photo courtesy of Sultan Sammy Hadjimanan)
ILOILO CITY -- With the festival of breaking the fast or the Eid al-Fitr held on Wednesday, an official of the Iloilo United Muslim Community thanked the Ilonggos for respecting their rights to freely practice their religion in both the city and in the province.
“We can practice our faith here in Iloilo, 100 percent without fear because we see how Ilonggos respect us as Filipinos,” Sultan Sammy Hadjimanan, the group’s spokesperson said in an interview.
Around 800 Muslims in the city and in neighboring towns gathered at the public plaza of this city’s La Paz district for the prayer to mark the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.
“We thank that we have survived the 29 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan,” he said.
Aside from the prayer in La Paz Plaza, there were also Muslims who participated in prayers and gathering in mosques and open spaces in the towns of Pavia and Duenas.
The Eid is also a time to congratulate each other and share prepared food for the celebration, Hadjimanan said.
He said there are around 3, 000 Muslims living in the province.
About 90 to 95 percent of the Muslim community runs kiosks of mobile phone accessories and ready-to-wear (RTW) garments in shopping malls and business centers.
Muslim children also go to schools in Iloilo, he added.
“Ilonggos are peace-loving people. We do not feel any discrimination and we can exercise our rights to religion and conduct our worship services freely,” he said.
He also noted an increase in the number of Muslims in the city after the siege of Marawi.
He said there were Muslims who decided to transfer to Iloilo because aside from having their relatives here, Muslims also recognize the peace and order in the city.
Hadjimanan said there are three mosques in Iloilo: Masjid Molo in Molo district, Iloilo Pioneer Masjid in La Paz district, and Masjid Al-Khabeer in Pavia town. (PNA)