Ramadan, which ends today, means 30 days of dawn to dusk fasting for observant Muslims. No eating, drinking, smoking or sex until the sun goes down. For 30 days. So you can see how people would be pretty happy when the annual ritual ends each year. On the island of Mindanao in the Philippines, that means anyone with a gun fires it into the air to celebrate…
And that, until now, has included cops and the military as well as the general populace. Gravity being the fairly uncompromising force that it is, injuries and deaths have been follow-on results of the post-fast revelry. But authorities are trying to change that.
Ustadz Jaafar Ali of the National Ulama Council of the Philippines said the Holy Quoran did not cite firing of guns as part of the revelry in welcoming the end of Ramadan.
Chief Superintendent Bienvenido Latag, police regional director for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), has warned policemen that firing of guns during the revelry means removal from service.
And the Army’s getting the same treatment.
Brigadier General Rey Ardo, 6th Infantry Division chief, also issued a directive for all Muslim soldiers in the division’s different units not to use their guns in celebrating the Eid’l Fitr.
Ardo said soldiers violating the division’s policy on indiscriminate firing of guns would be penalized.
Meanwhile, locals are trying to suggest other, more constructive ways to celebrate the return of breakfast and lunch.
“Instead, a true Muslim believer [should] shell out some money or goods for the needy because the Holy Quran teaches us to be generous,” [Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi, Cotabato City administrator] said in a radio interview.
Good advice, that. Beats a shower of falling lead, no? In the mean time, Mindanao residents might want to stay indoors until it’s clear the message has taken hold.