Marawi Grand Mosque Open for Congregational Prayer

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MARAWI CITY, Philippines  – The military has finally opened the Saduc-Guimba Grand Mosque or Masjid in Barangay Saduc Proper, just in time for the Salatul Jumuah Friday congregational prayer for Meranaws.

The opening gave way to residents to perform their prayer, after closing it for 11 months.

The grand mosque is located at the heart of Marawi City.

On May 19, 2017, the Meranaws last held the congregational prayer.

On May 23, 2017, the war broke off when the Daesh-inspired Maute group clashed with the government forces which lasted for five months.

Since then, the military did not allow residents to enter the area citing security reasons and pending completion of the clearing procedures.

The mosque was also used by the Maute terrorist as their shield. After the war. the whole structure was peppered with traces of bullets.

Bae Sora Sarigala, a resident of the place thanked the Saduc-Guimba Grand Mosque Organization an organization of traditional and religious leaders, who persistently requested the government to allow them to use the sacred place “Dito ang mga traditional and religious leaders nagtitipon-tipon para magsimba sa Friday congregational prayer.”

While, another Meranaw, Langkap Mangata described the Saduc-Guimba Grand Mosque, a very important part of his family, as it serve as the center of prayer for every Meranaw, families and friends, “Simula noong bata pa ako, hanggang may mga anak na ako, dito kami nagsisimba, kaya masakit sa amin na pinabawalan kaming pumasok para magsimba ng halos isang taon,” Mangata said.

But Mangate said he fully understands the concern of the government, when they were not allowed entry, “Para din naman sa kapakanan namin, kaya naghintay nalang din kami.”

Sultan Abdul Atar in an interview said that although they are happy their people were finally allowed to pray at the grand mosque, he still could not understand why it took the government this long to open it.

“We could not sense bakit pinahirapan ang mga tao the same way sa Kambalingan advocacy namin. The government is the one who always create strained relationship between the people and the government,” the Moro leader added.

Kambalingan, which means ‘to go home’ in Meranaw vernacular, is a project of the Task Force Bangon Marawi and the city government of Marawi, to allow residents to go back to their houses in the cleared area.

While the grand mosque has been opened, still some mosques inside the most affected area remained close, pending clearance.

The government was forced to bomb the mosque and even conducted airstrikes, after they validated reports that the terrorist were using the sacred place and their shelter.

The military claimed, some mosques were used a the depository and warehouses for the terrorists, a claim affirmed by some civilian residents.

In an earlier interview, Lanao del Sur Vice Governor Mamintal Adiong, said they are open if some Muslim countries will help them rebuild especially the two big mosques –the one they called Ismalic Center and the Bato Mosque.-Divina M. Suson/

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