UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News

Philippines

Vandalizing of chapel in Mindanao sparks outrage

We will not allow incident to destroy the rapport between Muslims and Christians, says the governor of Maguindanao

Bong Sarmiento, Cotabato

Bong Sarmiento, Cotabato

Updated: November 13, 2017 10:52 AM GMT
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Vandalizing of chapel in Mindanao sparks outrage

A religious image on the altar of the San Isidro de Labrador chapel in Shariff Aguak town is partially burned after still unidentified men tried to burn the place of worship on Nov. 10. (Photo courtesy of Roger Rivera)

Share this article :
Suspected supporters of an Islamist militant group desecrated a Catholic chapel in the southern Philippine region of Mindanao in the evening of Nov. 10.

Authorities said they are still looking into the identities of the perpetrators who tried to set fire to the chapel in the village of Labo-Labo in Shariff Aguak town.

Police said they are considering reports that supporters of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) were behind the incident.

In June this year, BIFF gunmen also desecrated a chapel in the neighboring province of North Cotabato.

Witnesses said the still unidentified men poured gasoline on religious images and icons on the altar of the San Isidro de Labrador chapel about nine in the evening. Some "antique religious icons" were damaged by fire, the Philippine Star reported.

Oblate Father Eliseo Mercado Jr. who formerly served at the chapel during his early years as a priest, condemned the desecration.

He said the attack was "the work of few extremists that need to be rooted out."

The priest recalled that even during the height of the Moro rebellion in the 1970s "Muslim rebels respected places of worship in the area."

Town official Anwar Emblawa said the incident was intended "to disrupt the harmonious relationship between Muslims and Christians" in the municipality.

"This is the first time this kind of desecration at a Catholic place of worship has happened in our town," said Emblawa.

"We will not allow this incident to destroy the rapport between Muslims and Christians in our locality," he said.

Governor Esmael Mangudadatu of Maguindanao described the attempt to burn the chapel as "un-Islamic" as he ordered policemen to find the perpetrators.

"Islam teaches respect for religions and worship sites. Islam teaches religious tolerance. We have a principle in our religion that says there is no compulsion in religion," said the governor.

In May, Islamic State-inspired gunmen burned the St. Mary's Cathedral in Marawi at the start of what later became a five-month terrorist occupation of the city that displaced about 400,000 people.

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
UCA Newsletter
YOUR DAILY
NEWSLETTER
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter

Also Read

UCA News Podcast
UCAN Ad
 
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution