Press Release: Global Interfaith Organization Calls for Release of Marawi Hostages

24 May 2017, 2:21 PM
Marawi photos

Father Teresito “Chito” Suganob

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                 

Global Interfaith Organization Calls For Release Of Marawi Hostages

May 25, 2017, San Francisco, CA, USA – The worldwide community of the United Religions Initiative (URI) calls for the immediate release of hostages taken from the Cathedral of St. Mary’s in Marawi City in the Philippines. The URI international peacebuilding network joins the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines in their appeal for the release of Father Teresito “Chito” Suganob and his parishioners.   

Father Chito is a longtime leader and an active member of one of URI’s member groups. By working across religious and cultural boundaries, these groups help heal lasting wounds of conflict in local communities in Mindanao, and improve socio-economic conditions in the region. Together, with over 850 interfaith groups that comprise the United Religions Initiative in 101 countries, Father Chito and his team envision a world in which people of all religions and cultures affirm their common humanity and work together for peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings.

“The violence in our world continues to haunt humanity. The attack in Manchester has mobilized prayers for peace globally as we pray for our sisters and brothers in the U.K. in the aftermath of the horror of the slaughtering of so many innocents,” says The Rev. Victor H. Kazanjian, Jr., Executive Director of the United Religions Initiative. “Today we hear news of chaos and mayhem in Mindanao and the taking hostage of at least one of our URI family.

“I am currently en route to Russia to support the work of URI members there and build new relationships with people committed to peace. The violence in Manchester and the violence in Mindanao are just two instances of violence being committed in the name of religion around the world. The success of this violence relies on its dehumanizing power - turning us against each other by separating the human family into warring tribes. But always remember there are millions and millions more people around the world who are peace-builders than there are people-destroyers. The extremists and terrorists, the people-destroyers, are a small minority among us. Those politicians using hate to further their agenda, while powerful, are but a few when compared to the masses of people committed to peace, justice and the healing of humanity and the earth. May we continue to build strong bridges between us connecting the peace-builders and peace-seekers across the planet. We will overcome the violence of a few. Peace will prevail on Earth.”



The United Religions Initiative is the largest grassroots interfaith network in the world. It cultivates peace and justice by engaging people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities. We implement our mission through local and global initiatives that build the capacity of more than 850 member groups and organizations, called Cooperation Circles, to engage in community action such as conflict resolution and reconciliation, environmental sustainability, education, women’s and youth programs, and advocacy for human rights. Learn more at


Isabelle Ortega | Tel +1-415-570-3235 | Email iortega@uri.o