DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 June) — Tarawee for Marawi.
A simultaneous tarawee was offered in the cities of Iligan and Cotabato and in Bongao, Tawi-tawi province on Tuesday, June 20, World Refugee Day, in solidarity with Marawi City residents affected by the still raging armed conflict in the country’s lone Islamic City.
The tarawee, a special prayer composed of 11 sets of verses recited before midnight during Ramadan was offered simultaneously at 7:20 p.m. Tuesday in the cities of Iligan and Cotabato, and in Tawi-tawi, according to a press release of Oxfam Philippines.
This year’s Ramadan came at a time of war, particularly affecting residents of Marawi City who fled the country’s lone Islamic city due to clashes between government forces and the Maute Group since May 23 and the government’s air strikes since May 25.
Ramadan began on May 27.
As of 6 pm on June 16 ,the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in its Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center Report number 40 said a total of 334 persons (68,512 families) have been displaced by the armed conflict in Marawi since May 23. Of this number, 307,514 are from the 95of 96 barangays of Marawi City.
Assemblyman Zia Alonto Adiong, spokesperson of the Provincial Crisis Management Committee told MindaNews on Monday, June 19 that they estimate at least 300 to 600 civilians remaint rapped in the conflict zone.
Another100 are held hostaged by the Maute Group, among them Fr. Teresito Suganob, Vicar General of the Prelature of Marawi.
Samira Gutoc of the Ranao Rescue Team told ABS-CBN News Channel’s Headstart last Monday that it is “double burden” for the Maranao evacuees becuase “it is fasting… but at night where they can eat, there’s nothing to eat because there’s no commercial establishment” operating within the conflict area.
Gutoc urged the military and the Maute Group to “let the food in.”
The tarawee was streamed live from various locations mainly through the Oxfam in the Philippines Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OxfamsaPilipinas/ and Twitter page: @oxfamph.
The Marawi-based non-governmental organization, Al Mujadilah Development Foundation, collated prayers from residents who were forced to leave their homes in Marawi, for reading after the tarawee.
“We conducted this activity to promote empathy and encourage acts of solidarity for the people of Marawi during these trying times,” said Zahria Mapandi, the foundation’s Executive Director.
The evacuee’s collective prayer:
“We have witnessed Marawi City driven to its knees by forces espousing hatred, divisiveness, and mistrust under the guise of Islam. This desolation forever changed the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual landscape of the glorious old Dansalan and begot the worse in some of us and the best in humanity among the several who defied death to save lives and the many who showed overwhelming compassion and support from all over the world.
“Dear God, we pray that the near-death of Marawi will trigger understanding, unity, and love among all peoples regardless of race, gender, and religion instead. May recovery and rehabilitation be quick and the healing of our collective anguish and pain, and the restoration if not blossoming of the good relationship of all citizens of our country in spite of the madness that ensued. We pray for your blessings, O God, that we all rise above the ruins and focus on what brings us together rather than what keeps us apart.
“May Marawi’s fall be a warning to all of us never again to let hatred reign in our hearts that will topple down our cities.
“May Marawi stand as fast as it fell and may its renewal bring fresh hope and a new beginning that will symbolize the great achievement of humanity united in purpose, empathy, and concern.
“This, we beg of you Almighty with our bleeding hearts emptied of hatred and greed and our hands clasped together in unity and love to our fellow human beings.”
“Tarawee for Marawi” was initiated by Oxfam’s local NGO partners: United Youth of the Philippines – Women, Al Mujadilah Development Foundation, Community Organizers Multiversity, Nisa Ul Haqq fi Bangsamoro, Tarbilang Foundation Incorporated, the Philippine Legislators Committee on Population and Development, the Humanitarian Response Consortium, and Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services Inc. (MindaNews)