Peacemakers Extend Interfaith Efforts in Philippines
An interfaith organization based in Metro Manila, Philippines, in partnership with the Fetzer Institute, has brought its peacebuilding efforts to areas of armed conflict in Mindanao. This is to promote love and forgiveness in that southern region of the country where conflict has been raging sporadically for decades between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and government troops.
The Peacemakers’ Circle Foundation, Inc. (TPCFI) has been engaged in building relationships of mutual respect, understanding and cooperation among people of diverse cultures and beliefs in Metro Manila since 2001. In 2003, it began to reach out to Muslims and Christians in grassroots communities around the metropolis to promote Muslim-Christian relationships through dialogues for peace and understanding. Its efforts to create safe spaces and common ground for dialogue have been effective in poverty-stricken and conflict-ridden communities where fear and mistrust once prevailed.
Today, TPCFI has inspired the creation of Muslim-Christian cooperative organizations in four communities around the metropolis. Its members support each other in their effort to live up to the teachings and ideals of their respective faith traditions and engage in co-creative actions that promote peace, justice, and healing in their communities.
By bringing its endeavors to the areas of armed conflict in the southern region of the Philippines, this effort aims to replicate the success in Metro Manila. Through its pilot training program, Intra-faith Dialogue for Muslim-Christian Understanding & Cooperation in North Cotabato, Mindanao, TPCFI aims to inspire participants to create Salam and Shalom Intra-faith Dialogue Circles in their communities. These dialogue circles will serve as safe spaces where fear, anger and mistrust can be addressed through the teachings of Islam and Christianity on love and forgiveness. The goal of the circles is also to develop participants’ capacities for Muslim-Christian dialogue and peacebuilding.
The journey from fear, anger, hatred, and mistrust to love, forgiveness, and friendship between Muslims and Christians in this project will be documented on video and used with public and university audiences to inspire similar dialogue circles elsewhere in the country.
This is a project of the Fetzer Advisory Council on the Humanities.