The fact that Christians are the forefront of collecting and donating Islamic books confirm the fact that at Kris Library, we don’t only collect and distribute books and advance the cause of education poor children; at Kris Library, we bring together people of all religion, culture and from all places to work for the cause of peace, understanding and respect.
Our other donors include Born Again Christians and Buddhist Chinese who recently gave books and school supplies to kids who swim to school in Layag Layag, Zamboanga City as well as poor children living near an MILF stronghold in a Claret Mission Center and school in Tungawan, Zamboanga del Sur.
Recently, my Muslim wife’s cousin Rhuayda Basangan opted to spend her husband’s birthday in Ireland by raising funds to complete work on the Kris Library in Zamboanga City.
Today, I would like to say thank and greet happy birthday to one such wonderful donor – my Kuwait-based Auntie Flor del Rosario who have been our biggest – if not only source – of Islamic books she sources out from Kuwaiti friends and Christian and Muslim OFWs who share our belief that religion should be a force of unity, reconciliation and respect for all people in the world rather than a cause of conflict.
My Auntie Flor – along with her very supportive husband Uncle Mar and my cousin Mariflor – have been sending boxes of the Holy Qur’an, Islamic pamphlets, cassette tapes and video materials to our Kris Library in a Christian-Muslim in Barangay Manicahan, Zamboanga City since we opened it in 2008.
Last December, Auntie Flor and Mariflor risked threats of kidnappings from the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) to be our special guest speaker during our school supplies, computers and gift-giving program. Auntie Flor brought more books and special Persian rug from Kuwait for use by Muslims students who find themselves in the middle of research during prayer time.
Yesterday, as she reflected on the blessing of another birthday, she posted this message in my Facebook wall:
“Good PM. Ketal (How are you in Chavacano)? Mr. Victor Ragonot brought again some reading materials and magazines on Islam. The titles are as follow: Ang Hajj at ang Omrah, Mga Alituntunin ng Pang-aayuno, Ang Tahara at ang Salah, Angh mga Alituntunin at mga Magandang Asal sa Muslim, Gusto kong magmuslim subalit ... Ang Islam at Kristiyanismo sa Bibliya, Magbalik Islam , Ang Talakayan sa Pagitan ng Kristiyanismo at Muslim,At bilang Muslim Kami ay naniniwala kay Hesus, Si Muhammad sa Bibliya.
The following are cassette tapes entitled: Ang pananampalataya Sa Allah, Ang Qur'an at Bibliya . I think we can give some copies of magazines and cassette tapes instead of keeping all in the library. Please, let me know if you prefer to receive them in Manila or Zamboanga. I am very busy this week. I will start packing those materials next week. Regards to Ann and the children. Thanks be to God for all the blessings you fully enjoy. You are reaping the fruits of your labor. Bye now, I need to entertain some visitors.”
Wow! What happy and welcome news from my Auntie who has the hundreds of Muslim kids, religious leaders and Kris Library scholars in mind as she busies herself entertaining her many friends visiting her on the eve of her birthday. You see my auntie, a nurse, is an active officer of Filipino-Kuwaiti organizations in Kuwait as well as her husband who is a good tennis player and who works at the US Embassy.
Cousin Mariflor, who is now working as a nurse while taking her masteral at the Ateneo de Zamboanga, has been active Kris organizer and volunteer having gone with us in last month’s book and school supplies distribution event in Layag Layag (although at one point she gave us all a scare when we failed to locate her in that area located near an island where a Filipino-American has been kidnapped recently, it turned Mariflor – ever smart yet humble and low-profile -- was busy preparing the school supplies to be given away).
Thus, today Auntie Flor, I wish you a very happy birthday and along with all the hundreds of Muslim students, teachers and religious leaders reading the books you tirelessly collect, pack and send here to Zamboanga – we also wish you all the blessing from God/Allah.
Do enjoy this special day with the thought that we all love you and appreciate all you have been doing to us and the Kris scholars and library users back home.
We pray to that may there be more like you and Seller and Rhuayda who will spend their special days in dedication and service to God/Allah and His needy people.
Feliz Compleano y Dios te Bendiga (Happy Birthday and May God Bless You)!