Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sulu holds peaceful Hari Raya celebration

Muslims pray outside the Sulu Capitol building in the southern Philippines as Governor Sakur Tan led the celebration the Eid al Fitr, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)
SULU, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Sept. 11, 2010) – Tens of thousands of Muslims took to the streets in Sulu province to celebrate the Hari Raya which marked the end of the holy month of Ramadan, police said Saturday.

Police said the Eid’l Fitri celebration passed on Friday without any incidents as Muslims prayed in mosques and filled the streets across Sulu, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.

“People ended the Ramadan and celebrate the Eid with prayers across Sulu. The celebration is peaceful and joyous. There was no report of any violence, nothing, but peaceful celebration of the Hari Raya,” said Chief Inspector Amil Baanan, operations chief of the Sulu police force.

He said the governor of Sulu, Sakur Tan, led thousands of Muslims in the Hari Raya prayers held at a vast field in the town of Patikul. “The governor – as he did in the past - led thousands of Muslims in the prayers to mark the end of the holy month and the Eid celebration,” Baanan said.

Baanan said Tan later met with various business and civil groups in Sulu and also held a meeting with security commanders and government officials.

The Philippine Air Lines also opened its regular 3 times-a-week flights from Zamboanga to Sulu on Friday and further boosting trade and commerce in the province.

Last year, the Hari Raya celebration was disrupted by drastic military operations in Sulu after Marine General Benjamin Dolorfino, chief of the Western Mindanao Command, ordered the bombings of rebel targets in the province.

The military offensive triggered deadly attacks against security targets from rebel forces and widespread criticisms from conservative Muslims in the southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner)

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