Philippine Flag for Christians and Muslims: Add Our Lady of Fatima on top of a crescent moon

In the Letters section of the Philippine Star, a Muslim proposed to add a crescent moon on the Philippine flag (see picture here):

Since the avowed purpose for the modification of the flag is to give recognition to the Muslims of Mindanao, I suggest that we add a green CRESCENT instead to one of the stars (see proposed design above) in which manner the recognition intended them can be said to be clear, distinct, apparent and can be readily pointed to even by any grade school pupil and not to be lost within one of those rays that most people never care to count at all. More importantly, it hails them not just as mere freedom fighters but as Muslims. — DATU RUBEN S. BUAN SR., Datu Lukes of Maguindanao Sultanate, 102 Quezon Avenue, Poblacion 1, Cotabato City

I am sure many Christians like me would object to this.  If we add a CRESCENT, we must also add a CROSS, but not to place them side by side, overlapping each other, to form the hammer and sickle of the Communist Russia.  And since about 90% of Filipinos are Christians, the cross should be at least nine times bigger than the crescent moon.

But I am sure Muslims would object to the cross.  So why not choose a symbol dear to Christians and Muslims alike: Mary.  Mary is the Mother of Christ and Mary is also found in the Quran as Miriam.  Muslims revere Mary more than Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad.  As Archbishop Fulton Sheen wrote in his book, Mary and the Muslims:

Mary is for the Moslems the true Sayyida, or Lady. The only possible serious rival to her in their creed would be Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed himself. But after the death of Fatima, Mohammed wrote: “Thou shalt be the most blessed of all the women in Paradise, after Mary.” In a variant of the text, Fatima is made to say: “I surpass all the women, except Mary.”

This brings us to our second point, namely, why the Blessed Mother, in this twentieth century, should have revealed herself in the insignificant little village of Fatima, so that to all future generations she would be known as “Our Lady of Fatima.” Since nothing ever happens out of heaven except with a finesse of all details, I believe that the Blessed Virgin chose to be known as “Our Lady of Fatima” as a pledge and a sign of hope to the Moslem people, and as an assurance that they, who show her so much respect, will one day accept her Divine Son, too.

Evidence to support these views is found in the historical fact that the Moslems occupied Portugal for centuries. At the time when they were finally driven out, the last Moslem chief had a beautiful daughter by the name of Fatima. A Catholic boy fell in love with her, and for him she not only stayed behind when the Moslems left, but even embraced the faith. The young husband was so much in love with her that he changed the name of the town where he lived to Fatima. Thus, the very place where Our Lady appeared in 1917 bears a historical connection to Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed.

The final evidence of the relationship of Fatima to the Moslems is the enthusiastic reception which the Moslems in Africa and India and elsewhere gave to the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima, as mentioned earlier. Moslems attended the Church services in honor of Our Lady; they allowed religious processions and even prayers before their mosques; and in Mozambique the Moslems, who were unconverted, began to be Christian as soon as the statue of Our Lady of Fatima was erected.

Because Muslims honor Our Lady of Fatima so much, it is fitting that our Lady should stand on top of the crescent moon as in the icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe or of the Immaculate Concepcion, which the Muslims also believe:

The Koran, which is the Bible of the Moslems, has many passages concerning the Blessed Virgin. First of all, the Koran believes in her Immaculate Conception and, also, in her Virgin Birth. The third chapter of the Koran places the history of Mary’s family in a genealogy which goes back through Abraham, Noah, and Adam. When one compares the Koran’s description of the birth of Mary with the apocryphal Gospel of the birth of Mary, one is tempted to believe that Mohammed very much depended upon the latter. Both books describe the old age and the definite sterility of the mother of Mary. When, however, she conceives, the mother of Mary is made to say in the Koran: “O Lord, I vow and I consecrate to you what is already within me. Accept it from me.”

When Mary is born, the mother says: “And I consecrate her with all of her posterity under thy protection, O Lord against Satan!”

The Koran passes over Joseph in the life of Mary, but the Moslem tradition knows his name and has some familiarity with him. In this tradition, Joseph is made to speak to Mary, who is a virgin. As he inquired how she conceived Jesus without a father, Mary answered: “Do you not know that God, when He created the wheat had no need of seed, and that God by His Power made the trees grow without the help of rain? All that God had to do was to say. ‘So be it, and it was done.'”

The Koran has also verses on the Annunciation, Visitation, and Nativity. Angels are pictured as accompanying the Blessed Mother and saying: “Oh, Mary, God has chosen you and purified you, and elected you above all the women of the earth.” In the nineteenth chapter of the Koran there are forty-one verses on Jesus and Mary. There is such a strong defense of the virginity of Mary here that the Koran, in the fourth book, attributes the condemnation of the Jews to their monstrous calumny against the Virgin Mary. (Bishop Fulton Sheen, Mary and the Moslems)

Our Protestant brothers may object to Mary.  But they can think of her simply as a Woman on top of a Crescent Moon described in the Book of Revelation (for Protestants will never believe unless it is in the Bible):

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. (Rev 12:1)

How about the members of Iglesia ni Cristo and of the Masons?  The Philippine flag already contains the triangle, the stars, and the sun, which are their common symbols (see comparison of INC and Masonic logos).

I think this proposal of adding our Lady of Fatima on top of the crescent would be acceptable to all Faiths: Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, and Masons.  If we remove Our Lady, we must also remove the Crescent, and many would be happy with our flag as it is.

About Quirino M. Sugon Jr
Theoretical Physicist in Manila Observatory

One Response to Philippine Flag for Christians and Muslims: Add Our Lady of Fatima on top of a crescent moon

  1. I always admire your wisdom. You’ve said exactly what I really want to say regarding this proposal by our Muslim kababayan.

    More power to you!

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