Thursday, August 27, 2009

Demolition of Baclaran Mosque during Ramadan Looms


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Demolition of Baclaran Mosque during Ramadan Looms

28 August 2009. Will they demolish our place of worship during our most holy time?

This was the question raised today by a Muslim group concerning the proposed plan by the local government to demolish their Grand Mosque occupying a reclaimed land in Pasay City.

The said area is reportedly being developed for the establishment of commercial establishments, including casinos.

In a statement, Abdelmanan Tanandato, leader of Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Nademolis sa Roxas Boulevard said the government’s plan to demolish their place of worship even during their holiest time is the height of insensitivity and callousness.

"Clearly, at the rate things are going, they are hell bent in destroying our mosque. Proof of this, they even threatened to do it during Ramadan, the holiest period in the religious lives of the Muslims," Tanandato said.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, and indulging in anything that is in excess or ill-natured; from dawn until dusk.

Tanandato said Sheriff Jeffrey Sales of Parañaque Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 274 served a Notice to Vacate on August 13, 2009, few days before the start of Ramadan.

Signed by lawyer Roberto Makalintal, Jr., branch clerk, the Parañaque RTC issued the notice to Baclaran-Parañaque City Islamic Cultural Center, Inc. and/or to Nasser D. Ramos and Jalil Moluk and Sultan Sohayle Cosain Tanandato, defendants on the reclamation site in Roxas Boulevard.

The notice stated that "all the adverse occupants are hereby given three (3) days from receipt by virtue of the alias writ of execution dated August 11, 2009 to voluntary vacate and peacefully surrender the premises they are occupying."

The notice also said "failure to vacate, the government will be constrained to use force and effect the said order to the full force and limit provided by law."

Tanandato said they filed a Motion to Quash / Hold in Abeyance the writ of execution at the Parañaque RTC last August 14, 2009. The hearing is set on August 28, 2009 (Friday).

"We appeal to the government to hear and exhaust all the legal venues for us to arrive at an amicable settlement of the issue instead of threatening our community with violence and forced eviction," Tanandato said.

Meanwhile, Imam Abdul Fatah Sarip warned that blood might spill if the government will pursue with its plan to demolish the mosque.

"Muslims brothers and sisters would gladly offer their lives during Ramadan if it is the only way to save their place of worship from utter destruction," Sarip said.

Task Force Anti-Eviction, composed of various people’s organizations and NGOs such as Urban Poor Associates (UPA), Community Organizers Multiversity (COM), and Community Organization of the Philippine Enterprise (COPE) Foundation, have been demanding the government to defer the demolition.

Lawyer Bienvenido Salinas II, legal counsel of UPA, said they are also drafting a house resolution in aid of legislation halting the demolition of the mosque. The said resolution is in partnership with ABA-AKO Party-list Rep. Leonardo Montemayor. -30-

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