Christians Upset Over Muslim Prayer Room in Manila Mall

January 19, 2005

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

On January 19, 2005 The Christian Science Monitor reported, "As the midday call to prayer echoes along the dingy alley, Manny Macarambon hangs back, waiting his turn... 'During rainy season we can't pray outside, so what we do is we pray first batch, second batch, third batch. At one time, we can't pray all together,' Mr. Macarambon explains, nodding at the damp concrete floor. So when the owner of Greenhills Shopping Center agreed to put a dedicated Muslim prayer area inside a new parking garage, the merchants, after 10 years of praying in an alley, were delighted. But to some residents of this wealthy Christian area of Manila, any hint of a mosque in their neighborhood was tantamount to a Muslim takeover. They lobbied the mall owner to drop his plans, invoking visions of rising crime, fleeing homeowners, and sliding property values. A residents group said it was the 'first step in an economic hara-kiri.' One newspaper column was entitled 'A Jihad In Greenhills.'"