Priest lauds Muslim woman for spreading ‘interfaith harmony’

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MANDALUYONG City, Nov. 10, 2014—A Catholic priest lauded a Muslim woman, who recently sponsored a mass Christian wedding for her pupils’ unmarried parents, for her efforts at fostering good will and warm relations among the city’s Muslim and Christian residents.

“We greatly appreciate the efforts of Hadja Sarah Lucman Handang, principal of Lima Elementary School in Barangay Baluno, in organizing a community wedding so as to facilitate the issuance of birth certificates to her students. We appreciate Hadja Sarah’s dedication to her Islamic faith which urges her to seek interfaith harmony,” shared Fr. Carlos V. Reyes, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s Episcopal Commission on Interreligious Dialogue (ECID).

Fr. Carlos Reyes, Episcopal Commission on Interreligious Dialogue (ECID) executive secretary (File photo)

“Our dedication to the Christian faith should also allow us to see God in our fellow men and women. May God bless her and her family,” the priest added.

An earlier CBCPNews post reported that Handang, a practicing Muslim, went out of her way to organize a Christian mass wedding on Oct. 23 for the parents of her students whose “illegitimate status” prevented them from getting birth certificates.

An advocate of interfaith harmony, Handang said she felt “satisfied and fulfilled,” knowing that after the mass wedding, her students would finally be able to have their birth certificates processed.

“The Qur’an tells us to love our fellowmen. What I am doing is one way of showing love for my fellowmen,” she was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, CBCPNews followers flooded its official Facebook (FB) page with positive comments on Handang’s initiative.

“Christians and Muslims should do what is good and what is right, never try to pull down each other nor opposing each other. After all, we all believe in one true God that is merciful and just…. God bless this woman and may the Lord reward her good work,” shared Roger Emata Labado.

Jobert Castro noted that what Handang does is the “real meaning of love”, and expresses hope that peace can be achieved through it.

“What are friends for? Regardless of religion, may peace reign in our hearts,” Alice Gabuya declared.

Besides organizing a Christian wedding, Handang also allows catechists to teach religion in their school on Tuesdays and to have Mass celebrated in the campus on Thursdays. (Raymond A. Sebastián)

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