“Duyog Ramadan” goes high-tech due to virus

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 23 April) — In a time where physical distancing is a must due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Duyog Ramadan will have to depend on mobile and online technology, a leader of the Catholic church here said.

The Darul Ifta has declared the Ramadan starts on Friday (April 24), and ends either on May 23 or May 24. The National Commission on Muslim Filipinos will inform the Office of the President of the final date before a proclamation is made.

Monsignor Rey Monsanto of the Cagayan de Oro Archdiocese and head of the interfaith group here said Christians who wish to join Muslims in prayer during the Holy Month of Ramadan will have to content themselves with sending messages of support via texts and social media.

“We used to wait outside their mosques every evening as soon they break the fast. Now it’s no longer possible to do that,” Monsanto said.

Aleem Saad Amate of the United Imam of the Philippines said many of the Islamic traditions like congregational prayers in mosques and masjids have been set aside because of the pandemic.

Amate said the congregational prayers that would follow after the new moon is sighted would no longer be allowed.

“We are recommending that prayers would be held in their homes to keep social distancing,” Amate said.

He, however, said the Regional Darul Ifta (Islamic advisory council) scheduled the traditional moon sighting on Wednesday night.

He said imams and Muslim scholars in Lanao del Norte and Cagayan de Oro also planned to watch for the crescent moon on Wednesday night, the sighting of which marks the start of the holy month.

“It (moonsighting) used to be by the lake in Lanao but authorities are very strict in observing curfew hours so it’s not possible to look for the moon there,” he said.

Duyog Ramadan traces its roots to the initiatives of the late Bishop Bienvenido Tudtud of the Prelature of Marawi in the 1970s. As an interfaith movement, it aims to foster peaceful coexistence and respect for each other’s cultures and religious beliefs and traditions.

In Cebuano, duyog means to accompany or lend support, depending on the context of its usage. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)