Risale-i Nur Institute Philippines Successfully Spearheaded the Pre-Ramadan Activities

July 27, 2011

On July 25-26, 2011, a series of collaborative activities was conducted in Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) in Mindanao, Philippines. The said series of activities was spearheaded by the Risale-i Nur Institute in collaboration with the Department of Extension of MSU-IIT, Association of MSU-IIT Muslim Employees Inc (AMMEI) and MSU-IIT Muslim Students Association (MIMSA). Included in the series were: the “Interfaith Symposium on Fasting as an Act of Worship”; the “Mini-Lecture on the Dos and Don’ts of the Islamic Fasting”; “Book Sale and Exhibits” and the “Interfaith Cafe”.

The interfaith symposium on “Fasting as an Act of Worship” was held in the morning of July 25 at the institute mini theatre. It was meant not only to prepare the Muslim constituents of MSU-IIT for the observance of the Holy Month of Ramadan but also to serve as avenue for interfaith dialogue and understanding between Muslims and Christians. Invited to speak about the Christian way of fasting were Father Ilah Agbene of the Catholic Campus Ministry and Bishop Quivido Origines of the Mormon Church in Cagayan de Oro City. To explain the wisdom of Ramadan, Olgay Serbetcioglu of the Risale-i Nur Institute came all the way from Manila to share his learnings on the subject with the Muslim constituents of MSU-IIT.

What followed the interfaith symposium in the afternoon of the same day (July 25) was the “Lecture on the Do’s and Don’ts of the Islamic Fasting”. The topic was especially requested by the young Muslim students of MSU-IIT who were eager to clarify things regarding practices that are clouded with ambiguity as far as local traditions are concerned. Dir. Alongan Abdulrahman Mangorsi of the Department of Extension, who has been very supportive of Risale-i Nur endeavors in MSU-IIT, was there to serve as resource speaker.

On the following day, July 26, the student lounge of the College of Arts and Social Sciences was transformed into a beautiful lounge area where Muslim and Christian students had a fellowship. Bystanders and passersby were invited to relax in the lounge to have a friendly conversation and exchange of ideas about faith and belief. Knowledgeable resource persons like Olgay Serbetcioglu , Abdulhaleem Baña, Remzi Calik, Director Alongan Mangorsi, Hadji Ismail Alango and others were present to answer the curious questions mainly coming from Christian students who showed serious interest about Islam, Muslims and the various issues associated with them. Among others, this activity was aimed at promoting better understanding about Islam and eradicating a lot of myths about this beautiful religion. During the informal sessions in the lounge, students get to freely ask questions while being served with snacks. According to Sittie Pandapatan, a faculty member of the college:

I think this is the first activity of its kind in the history of MSU-IIT. It is a great idea that we have this now where we can freely and informally discuss things which we never discuss normally in campus. This is a unique way of promoting understanding between Muslim and Christians. The relaxing ambience of the lounge is very ideal and conducive for informal and friendly conversations. Thanks for inviting me and my students here!

Along with the above mentioned activities, books from the Risale-i Nur Collection were also displayed for sale and exhibit. According to Ibrahim Abey, who took care of the book display and sale, the number of volumes sold during the two-day exhibit was great; and the buyers were not only Muslims but included Christians as well. This goes to show that perhaps our activities have caught the attention of the non-Muslims and that they have probably become interested or curious now.

May the Risale-i Nur spread Islam’s light in this part of the Philippines!

 Juvanni Yahya A. Caballero / RNIP – Iligan Institute of Technology

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