Muslim theater troupe tours Philippines to promote peace

Marawi youths aim to dispel 'misconceptions' about Mindanao, its people and its culture
Muslim theater troupe tours Philippines to promote peace

Abdullah Acmad is leading a group of young people from the southern Philippine city of Marawi in an 'interfaith solidarity mission' to promote peace. (Photo by Elmer Recuerdo)

A troupe of young Muslims from battle-ravaged Marawi in the southern Philippines is touring the country to promote peace and help raise funds for the rehabilitation of their city.

The Peace-building and Social Cohesion section of Duyog Marawi (One with Marawi), a Catholic Church rehabilitation project established following the 2017 siege that devastated the city, is supporting the initiative.

Much of the city still needs to be rebuilt, nearly two years after the conflict that displaced about half a million residents and killed more than a thousand others.

Youth group leader, Abdullah Acmad, said the interfaith solidarity mission tour is part of a peace advocacy among young people "to promote dialogue and healing through theater."

"We will be performing in host communities," Acmad told

He said they will perform in churches, communities, and schools to introduce Marawi and the culture of the local Maranao people through narratives, songs, and dances.

The theater production titled "Kuris," which means "destiny," is a two-and-a-half hour performance showing how Muslims and Christians "coexist" in the city, and how the relationship was put to the test during the conflict.

"It tells how Muslims and Christians helped each other before and during the siege, and how they will help each other overcome trials and tribulations in the future," Acmad said.

He said people have a lot of "misconceptions" about Mindanao Muslims and their culture. "We give them a glimpse of who we are."

Acmad's group visited Tacloban in the central Philippines last week and performed before a crowd of mostly young students at Leyte Normal University and at the Redemptorist Church.

"I could relate to their experience," said 21-year old student Marisol Lacambra. "We can only overcome the challenges in life if we unite and help each other."

"What the Maranaos went through is very much the same with our experience," added Lacambra, a survivor of Super Typhoon Haiyan that devastated the central Philippines in 2013.

The tour also includes a "bazaar" that sells Maranao products from Mindanao.

Proceeds will go to various Catholic Church rehabilitation projects in Marawi.

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