As the Islamic world starts the observance of the holy month of Ramadan, a group of Filipino Muslims today vowed to promote peace. The Muslim group Maradeka brought three effigies representing politicians, election fraud and corruption to noon prayers at Manila's Golden Mosque
. The group said the month of Ramadan is an opportune time for Muslims to promote peace, democracy and development in the country. Sultan Nur Abubakar Hassan, president of the supreme council of the Royal Sultanate of Sulu Archipelago
in the southern Philippines, called on Filipino Muslims to observe the holy month in peace. "Muslims are peace-loving people, so on the day of Ramadan their bad deeds must be removed," he said. Sakiran Hajan, a Muslim leader in the central Philippines, said the commitment of sustaining peace in the country is the theme for this year's observance of Ramadan in the Visayas
region. "We reiterate the commitment of every Muslim in the Visayas, particularly in Cebu, to always work together with law enforcement agencies and local government units to sustain the peace that we are already enjoying," he said. He also called on all Filipino Muslims "to reaffirm their commitment to peace." Hajan said the conflict between the Philippine military and the Abu Sayyaf
bandits in the province of Sulu will not affect the observance of the holy month. Armed men believed to be members of the group ambushed and killed seven marines and wounded 27 others last week. News reports said some of the troops were beheaded.