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PHILIPPINES: Christians Threatened in Jolo

One Christian was killed and others are threatened by radical Islamic groups in Jolo, a small island in the southern Philippines. The missionary of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) Fr. Sebastiano D'Ambra, who lives in Zamboanga on Mindanao island, not far from Jolo, urged "all good Muslim leaders on the island to find appropriate solutions and to isolate those who commit crimes in the name of Islam."

"Many are now living in fear in Jolo, are afraid to talk, afraid even to go to church, even if the military are in front of the cathedral in the city center," says the missionary.

"Many Chinese Christians have left their homes and other Christians are planning to leave the island after these events: bad news for a society like that of Jolo which, in the past, lived in Islamic–Christian harmony."

The missionary launches an appeal to all those who have attended the "Silsilah" center for dialogue, founded by him, "so that all of us can take care of Jolo: help build a future of peace in Jolo where everyone is respected and free to pray following their religion. Let us not allow the destruction of Islam's goodness and Muslim and Christian friendship," he continues.

Fr. D'Ambra denounces that some radical elements have also killed Muslims, calling them "infidels" because they are proponents of dialogue and coexistence, and calls to start from the concept of mercy, central for Christians and Muslims. "I am convinced that if we start from here, the situation will improve and Jolo can again become a nice place where everyone can experience harmony," he concludes.

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