Int’l recognition, local crisis put more meaning in Silsilah’s 30th year

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ZAMBOANGA CITY, May 29, 2014—Receiving the first prize in the World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW) and continuing its service despite the recent armed conflict in Zamboanga city have put more meaning in the 30th founding anniversary of Silsilah Dialogue Movement (SDM).

SDM founder Fr. Sebastiano D’Ambra, PIME said the WIHW recognition and the Zamboanga crisis are significant parts of their group’s 30 years of existence. D’Ambra founded SDM on May 9, 1984 with Christian and Muslim friends who shared his advocacy of interfaith harmony.

“Silsilah has travelled a long journey over the 30 years of its existence,” the priest said.

According to him, 30 years of hard work has not only brought recognition from international bodies, but has “sensitized” many to the need for respecting cultural and religious differences.

“[Sisilah] has created communities where the residents take responsibility for the harmony among themselves; it has advocated for the protection of the environment through biodynamic farming and the protection of the watersheds; it has led activities for the successful celebration in Zamboanga City of WIHW,” D’Ambra added.

The priest also noted that despite the many successes of the organization, its commitment has not been without
“unqualified by frustrations and heartaches”, the biggest of which being the September 9 raid on Zamboanga City, which displaced thousands and once again triggered “feelings of mistrust among the ethnic and faith groups in the city.”

“Silsilah has engaged its staff, its resources, and its social contacts to mitigate the impact of the raid, within its capabilities,” he added. (CBCP News)

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