Monday, October 6, 2008
Posted by Picasa

Cotabato City, Dec. 2 (NNN-PNA) - The Philippines Senate approved on Nov 28 a bill declaring as national shrine the Sheikh Karimul Makhdum Mosque, the oldest Muslim worship place in Mindanao situated in Tubig Indangan, Simunul Island, Zamboanga Peninsula.

In a statement, Senator Edgardo Angara, chair of the Senate Committee on Peace, Unification and Reconciliation, emphasized Friday that declaring the six-centuries-old mosque as part of national heritage could help pave the way for Filipino-Muslims in the South to take the path of peace.

"It is a most opportune gesture of friendship to our Muslim brothers. Declaring it as national shrine is of far reaching significance because it celebrates the construction of the first Muslim mosque in our country, built two centuries ahead of the Spanish colonization," Angara said.

"In the same manner that the Roman Coliseum is celebrated and revered up to this day, so should we honour and protect one of our country's most important historical structures," he added.

The bill is set for submission to the Office of the President for final approval and enactment into law.

Arab missionary Sheikh Karimul Makhdum constructed the mosque 615 years ago, some 140 years before the arrival of Magellan in the Philippines.

Makhdum is recognised to have introduced Islamic civilisation in the country. His mosque is held with great esteem and emulation by the Muslims; and even non-Muslims and is considered sacred.

Some 5,000 domestic and foreign tourists frequently visit the shrine annually.

Maguindanao Islamic theologian Abdulkadir Abdullah expressed joy over the development saying "Such is a welcome development for us as we also want our cultural legacy protected."

Angara's son, Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara, earlier filed the bill before the House of Representatives for the mosque's recognition as national shrine.

Bongao Link