Catholic World News

Bishop, Muslim leaders decry desecration of Philippine cathedral

June 09, 2017

Following the posting of a video on Facebook, Catholic and Muslim leaders condemned the desecration of the cathedral in Marawi on the Philippine island of Mindanao.

500 militants allied with ISIS stormed into the city on May 23, taking over city hall and attacking schools and churches, including the cathedral. Among the 200 hostages taken were about a dozen from the cathedral, including the vicar general.

Video footage of the May 23 attack on the cathedral was posted online on June 5. Young gunmen set fire to part of the interior of the cathedral, and militants vandalized the cathedral, desecrating sacred images of Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and St. Joseph.

“That is blasphemy,” said Bishop Edwin De la Peña. “It’s unacceptable. It’s obvious that their actions are really out of this world. It’s demonic.”

“We are angered by what happened,” he added. “Our faith has really been trampled on.”

A leading local Muslim cleric condemned the attack, as did the governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“I call on all Muslims to condemn what the Maute did to the place of worship of our Christian brothers and sisters,” said Gov. Mujiv Hataman. “We have to be strong and united in the fight against terrorism in the country.”

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