ARMM marks Sheikh Karimul Makhdum Day
Bongao, Tawi-Tawi (09 November 2014) – In 1380, Sheikh Karimul Makhdum landed on the shores of Simunul town, Tawi-Tawi bringing with him the religion that would serve as one of the defining characters of the 13 ethno-linguistic groups that make up the Moro nation or Bangsamoro.
Six hundred thirty four years on, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) – the political institution created to allow the Bangsamoro their right to self-determination –started the month-long celebration of its 25th founding anniversary in the small, fishing village of Tubig (Bohe) Indangan in Simunul where the Sheikh Karimul Makhdum Mosque stands.
Thousands of people, including officials from the working ARMM government, gathered in the village to commemorate on Friday, 07 November, the arrival of Sheikh Makhdum and to celebrate the propagation of the Islamic religion in the country.
Muslim Filipinos revere Sheikh Makhdum for introducing Islam in the country. The religion has been pivotal in the Bangsamoro life and culture, setting their identity apart from the rest of the country.
On Friday, a fleet of 8 wooden hulled boats festooned with colorful flaglets set sail from Bongao town to Simunul in a fluvial parade depicting the journey taken by Sheikh Makhdum. The blueprint and other details of the proposed renovation of the Sheikh Karimul Makhdum Mosque, a declared national historical landmark, were unveiled during the short program that followed.
Lawyer Laisa Alamia, ARMM executive secretary, said the Sheikh Makhdum Mosque is a heritage site that must be preserved and developed for its historical value and tourism potential.
A congregational prayer at midday capped the commemoration event.
The event was also the official kickoff to the 25th ARMM anniversary celebration, perhaps the last, with the theme “A quarter century of service to the Bangsamoro”
Almia said marking the kickoff of the ARMM anniversary this year in Simunul instead of the region’s seat in Cotabato City is highly symbolic.
She said the arrival of Sheikh Makhdum set the course of history for the Bangsamoro and the ARMM, born out of years of Bangsamoro struggle, was established to serve their aspirations. (Bureau of Public Information)