For members of the Filipino Muslim community in Qatar, the Holy Month of Ramadan was the best time of the year, when they could propagate their faith among their non-Muslim compatriots here.
During Ramadan, 25 Filipinos embraced Islam after attending lectures at the Qatar Guest Centre, according to Dawud Turla , chairman of the Philippine Islamic Kibla Association
Eight of the new converts or what they call ‘balik Islam’ (returned to Islam), including a woman, were presented before the Filipino Muslim community during a mass Iftar at the Qatar Sports Club on September 16.
The most prominent figure in the Filipino community who has converted to Islam is Flor Cabrito Jr., the chairman of the Filipino Community Organisations Alliance. According to Faisal Jailani, president of Philippine Muslim Federation, Cabrito converted about four months ago and now bears a Muslim name, Mouza.
At the Iftar gathering, leaders from Filipino Muslim groups presented various programmes for the benefit of their group’s members and the Filipino community in general.
In the middle of Ramadan, an open forum was held at the Qatar Islamic Cultural Centre where a former Seventh Day Adventist pastor, now an Islamic scholar named Ahmad Barcelon, openly spoke before a Christian and Muslim audience about how he embraced Islam.
Jailani said their activities would continue during Eid Al Fitr and until Eid Al Adha. These would include a basketball tournament among five teams from different Filipino Muslim organisations.
For his part, Turla said the lectures at the Qatar Guest Centre were an ongoing event since many Filipinos go there on their own.
Filipino Muslims, estimated to number 5,000 in Qatar, have several organisations, such as Overseas Muslim Development Association, Davao Muslims Organisation-Qatar, Philippine Maranao Organisation, Organisation of Muslim Mindanao Overseas Workers and Balik Islam Qatar or the Al Salam International.
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