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A year after Marawi siege, evacuees hope to rebuild life, homes

MARAWI CITY – An emotional call to prayer by a 49-year old Imam, Haji Muhaimin, brought back painful reminders of last year’s war in the Muslim city of Marawi that devastated not only him, but residents who lost their loved ones and homes from five months of deadly and brutal fighting between ISIS militants and security forces.

Calling the prayer in time for the breaking of fast, the Imam or prayer leader at Sagonsongan resettlement site’s mosque, thanked the Almighty for sparing his life. “Marami ang namatay sa amin. Nagpapasalamat ako sa Allah na nabigyan ako ng isa pang buhay. Naging parang panata ko na ang maging bilal,” Muhaimin said.

Reminiscing the past, he said many of his relatives died in crossfires.

And for couple Gulam and Wanisa Dia, the siege robbed them of a lifetime’s worth of memories. “Masakit sa amin na nawala lahat ng kinalakihan namin,” Gulam said, but at the same time praising Governor Mujiv Hataman, of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, for giving them a glimmer of hope and to return to where they built their lives.

Manisa said Hataman recently visited the area and promised to help us rebuild our lives. “Sa pagbisita niya dito, nasabi namin ang hangarin namin na makabalik kami sa Marawi at makikipagtulungan daw siya sa amin,” Wanisa said.

A 23-year old villager, Najma Radia, also remains hopeful that they will still find their parents who had been missing since the war broke out. Radia is only one of those many who have never seen their family members who went missing in Marawi.

Najma, Gulam and Wanisa, and Muhaimin are among the thousands of individuals displaced by the siege.

Hataman reiterated the importance of unity in rebuilding what is left of Marawi and start a new life again. “In our efforts towards healing, we must go back to the core of our faith as Muslims and, and as we fast together this Holy Month, we must remember that with every hardship comes relief,” he said. “As we fulfil our duties as Muslims, we must also remember to continue the work that lies ahead of us together, as we worship Allah and dedicate all our efforts for his glory.” (Bureau of Public Information)


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