Stephen Lillie, ManilaAmbassador, Manila
The British Embassy is open today, but most of the Philippines is on holiday in honour of Eid'l Fitr, the end of the holy month of Ramadan. I have extended greetings to the Muslim community of the Philippines via our website, but I'm taking the opportunity to reprint my message here:
"I would like to send my best wishes to all Muslim Filipinos as they celebrate Eid 'l Fitr at the end of the holy month of Ramadan. I was privileged to be able to celebrate Iftar with the many Muslim friends of the Embassy earlier in the month, which brought home to me the great diversity and energy of the Muslim communities in the Philippines. On this day of celebration I would like to wish you and your families Eid Mubarak!"
The Iftar I referred to in my message was held at my Residence a fortnight ago. Since coming to the Philippines in August 2009 I've made it a point at this time of year to welcome to my home the Embassy's many different Muslim friends, from different parts of the country and different walks of life. Many of them are involved in some way with the Mindanao peace process, an important area of interest for the British government in the Philippines (on which we've seen some encouraging signs recently - but more on that in a future blog, I hope) . And a good number are former Chevening scholars - the subject of my last blog. We've got a selection of pictures from the Iftar on the Embassy's facebook page. It was a pleasure to celebrate Iftar with our friends; I look forward to celebrating Eid this week.