Filipinos attend the mass iftar organised by Sheikh Thani bin Abdullah Foundation for Humanitarian Services (RAF) yesterday at the Qatar Sports Club.Abdul Basit
BY RAYNALD C RIVERA
DOHA: Filipino Muslims in Qatar play a very important role as members of the Filipino community here, says Philippines Ambassador to Qatar Crescente R Relacion.
“Filipino Muslims are vital in the Filipino community here. They are a force to reckon with. A number of them are occupying high positions and they are also very instrumental in liaising and networking with the host government,” said Relacion.
The Philippine envoy was speaking to the local media on the sidelines of the iftar hosted by Sheikh Thani Bin Abdullah Foundation for Humanitarian Services (RAF) yesterday at the Qatar Sports Club.
“If we need something from the host government, some of these Muslim brothers are well-placed to bridge us to these people; they fulfil their role being the middlemen between us and the government,” he said, adding they also actively take part in the activities led by the Philippine Embassy and the community such as the Philippine Independence Day events, in which a number of Filipino Muslim community leaders functioned as members of the organising committee.
The Ambassador urged around the 800 Filipino Muslims who attended yesterday’s iftar to live up to the purpose of fasting during the month-to practice humility, spiritual closeness with Allah and develop social cohesiveness in the Islamic community.
He urged them to “practice obedience, humility and kindness not only during Ramadan but every day.” Philippine Muslim Federation (PMF) President Noroden Abdulhamid expressed similar message urging them to look at Ramadan as “a good opportunity to repent and do good deeds because they will be rewarded tenfold.”
PMF is the umbrella organization of Filipino Muslim organisations in Qatar including the Organisation of Muslim Mindanao Overseas Workers (Ommow), Philippine Muslim Association (PMA), Philippine Overseas Muslim Development Association (Pomda), Davao Muslims Organisation Qatar (Dmoq) and the Al Salam International Association (Asia).
Abdulhamid said there are an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 Filipino Muslims in Qatar and that the number witnessed around 30 to 40 percent increase this year as the population of Filipinos continues to rise.
Founded in 2002, PMF has been extending assistance to Filipino Muslims both in Qatar and the Philippines.
As part of their major projects, over 10 mosques and two Arabic schools have already been built in the Philippines since the organisation’s inception.
“In Qatar, we also provide help to our members who are in need, such as during weddings,” he said.
He thanked RAF for sponsoring the community iftar for the third consecutive year and for helping the Filipino Muslim community despite their other priorities.
Dr Yahya Al Nuaimi, Social Administration Advisor at RAF said projects in Qatar has always been a priority for the foundation.
“RAF Foundation sees to it to implement something in Qatar both for Qataris and expatriates before going outside the country,” said Dr Al Nuaimi.
“We try to implement activities like this for the different expatriate communities because we would like them to treat Qatar as their second home. This year we are organizing iftar for 11 expatriate communities,” he said, adding they also around 12 charity iftar tents and 9000 iftar packs to be distributed to motorists.