Good things happening in Zamboanga

It is so awesome when the religionists get along with each other!

And not just lip service, ‘outreach’ and photo-ops:  actually helping each other in practical ways.

In Zamboanga, Philippines, that is exactly what happened:

“We thought they were just looking for damaged mosques to rebuild,” said Jimmy Villaflores, Santa Catalina barangay (village) head.

But to the surprise of the mostly Christian residents, the Muslims, a number of them residents Zamboanga City who returned home from abroad recently, announced they had come to Santa Catalina to rebuild the Christ the King chapel.

“We have not heard of any Muslim helping build a chapel before,” Villaflores said.

But before the Christians could say anything to the Muslims, they went to work, sawing lumber, driving in nails and doing other things to rebuild the chapel.

“We are very happy about it. Santa Catalina residents are deeply touched by their efforts. We really appreciate how our Muslim brothers and sisters are helping us,” Villaflores said.

Retired police Chief Superintendent Sukarno Ikbala said he was listening to a live-streaming radio broadcast in the United States one day when he heard a  fellow retiree, Senior Supt. Julmunier Jubail, rallying Muslims to help in the rebuilding and relief efforts in the city.

Ikbala said he immediately came home, met with Jubail, retired Senior Supt. Bensali Jabarani and several other Muslim professionals and formed a group they called “Esperanza” (Hope).

“Esperanza stands for Environmental, Socio-Psychological, Economic, and Religious Advancement of Neo-Zamboangaenos’ Aspirations,” he said.

Ikbala said from that meeting, they raised P120,000 from the Asia Foundation and from fellow Muslim Abdurahman Nuno. The money is now being used in rebuilding of the Christ the King chapel.

It is awesome when people help people – without waiting for the governments to come and meddle, without religious leaders (really just another breed of politician) foaming at the mouth at the thought that members of different religions are actually getting along and helping each other!
And when it happens, we need to let everyone know that it is possible, so that those who have hate preached at them just might get to see that there is another way.
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