MANILA, Philippines?The French Legion of Honor and National Order of Merit Association completed the reconstruction of the first Muslim mosque in Tawi-Tawi that was originally built in 1380, 141 years before the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan in what was to become the Philippines.
This was announced in a yearend report by association co-presidents French Ambassador Thierry Borja de Mozota and former Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr., who both flew to Tawi-Tawi for the inauguration.
At simple rites on Simunul Island facing Sabah, De Mozota and De Venecia said the association?s ?modest mosque project symbolizes Christian-Muslim solidarity in a strategic isle of the Sulu Sea where Islam began? in the Philippines before the arrival of the Spanish.
The ambassador and the former Speaker, together with association officers Louis-Paul Heussaff, Philippe Gauthier, Grace Glory Go, Roberto de Ocampo, Aurelio Montinola III, Noel Laman, George-Gascon Feydean and Gretchen Wilwayco, are recipients of the French Legion of Honor and Order of Merit, the highest awards conferred by the French government which were created by the Emperor Napoleon.
In the report, association vice president Heussaff said the completion of the Sheik Karimul Makhdum Mosque was widely publicized in the Paris media.
Heussaff coordinated the mosque?s rehabilitation with the National Historical Institute headed by Ludovico Badoy, the Makdum Mosque Foundation under its president M.A Bayo, Tawi-Tawi Gov. Sadikul Sahali and Rep. Nur Jaafar, and other Muslim civil society leaders following a multi-sector meeting in De Venecia?s Makati City residence in early 2010.