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PIA Press Release

RP is multi-ethnic society that accommodates ethnic traditions PGMA

Quezon City (28 April) -- "The Philippines is a multi-ethnic society with institution-wide accommodation of ethnic traditions."

Thus declared President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today as she graced the 32nd Visayan Qur'an Reading Competition at the Cebu Coliseum in Cebu City.

In her short message to some 5,000 Muslims who converged here from their homes all over Cebu and Bohol, President Arroyo said the Qur'an Reading project "is a contribution to our principle that the Philippines is a multi-ethnic society..."

She also thanked local officials who were supportive of such endeavors by the Muslims in the area, including Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmena, Cebu City North District Rep. Raul del Mar and Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia. The activity was organized by the Regional Office of Muslim Affairs under Regional Director Sakiran Hajan.

The President stayed on to award the best male and female readers of the Qur'an (formerly Koran). Winning over seven other female contestants was Rahima P. Amerol of the Samstar Traders Association of Colon, while Abdul Latif Ben Daud of the Leon Sancangco Jama'ah Association won over 11 other male contestans.

Last year's winners were Norhana Linogaman and Nader Alangka.

The winners are chosen according to "tajwid" which is 40 points; melody, 25 points; "fasahah," 20 points; voice, 15 points.

"Tajwid" has to do with correct pronunciation and "alphabetic qualtiy," including the length of time it takes to say the words, or to pause or stop. On the other hand, "fasahah" consists in "faultless smooth recitation with perfect pronunciation, and recitation without hesitation of words and verses," among others.

This year's theme revolved around the Qur'an being "a torch for humanity."

And talking about the Philippines being "multi-ethnic," the Visayan Muslim group, in its souvenir program, pointed out that "Islam has provided mankind with a torch, the Qur'an... (and that) the problem with peace and unity of today had long been addressed by Islam by taking deep concern for the poor and the diversity of religions on earth."

The group added: "In our midst, the National Leadership's quest for Peace and Unity is gaining a strong ground. The Muslim Filipinos have been longing for peace -- a final and lasting one. They pin high hope to the ongoing (peace) process, for if there is one who can provide the difference, it is Her Excellency, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo." (OPS) [top]

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