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Philippines to showcase Islamic heritage in Riyadh during Ramadan

 The Philippines is set to host a Ramadan event in Riyadh later this month, aimed at showcasing the country's rich Islamic heritage, as per Manila's envoy in the Saudi capital speaking to Arab News on Sunday.

According to 2024 data from the National Commission for Muslim Filipinos, Filipino Muslims represent approximately 10 percent of the country's nearly 120 million population, making them the third-largest Muslim community in Southeast Asia after Indonesia and Malaysia.

Rommel Romato, the charge d'affaires of the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, mentioned that the event will feature an iftar gathering and a Qur'an reading exhibition. Its main objective is to highlight the Islamic heritage of the Philippines and promote cultural exchange with Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam.

"The event aims to strengthen the bonds of friendship and understanding between the Philippine and Saudi communities. The iftar provides a special opportunity to come together during the holy month of Ramadan and celebrate values such as peace, compassion, and community," he stated.

"The Qur'an reading exhibition will showcase the diverse Islamic traditions of the Philippines, reflecting a history that dates back to 1380 when Islam first arrived in the predominantly Catholic country, according to the National Historical Institute."

Most Filipino Muslims reside in Mindanao, the Sulu archipelago in the southern part of the country, and Manila.

The Riyadh event also aligns with the embassy's efforts to support Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia is the top destination for OFWs, with approximately 437,000 Filipino migrant workers employed there in 2022, based on a survey by the Philippine Statistics Authority.

"We remain dedicated to supporting our Overseas Filipino Workers and their families in Saudi Arabia through various programs and initiatives. This event provides an opportunity to connect with them and engage with representatives of the Saudi community," Romato added.

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