President Duterte yesterday said:
“The Abu Sayyaf no longer hungers for independence in Mindanao. They are no longer hungry for autonomy. They are hungry for a fight to establish a caliphate in Southeast Asia.“
This means Mr. Duterte sees the Abu Sayyaf as more than a bandit group, albeit a powerful and internationally supported one, but an organization whose goal is to establish a territorial equivalent of a state.
Wikipedia gives the following definition of “Caliphate.”
“A caliphate (Arabic: khilifa) is an area containing an Islamic steward known as a caliph (Arabic: khal fah)_—a person considered a religious successor to the Islamic prophet, Muhammad (Muhammad ibn Abdull), and a leader of the entire Muslim community. The Rashidun caliphs, who directly succeeded Muhammad as leaders of the Muslim community, were chosen through shura, a process of community consultation that some consider loosely to be an early form of Islamic democracy. During the history of Islam after the Rashidun period, many Muslim states, almost all of them hereditary monarchies, have claimed to be caliphates. Even though caliphs were thought to go back to Muhammad, they were not thought of as having the same prophetic power as he did.
“The Sunni branch of Islam stipulates that, as a head of state, a caliph should be elected by Muslims or their representatives. Followers of Shia Islam, however, believe a caliph should be an Imam chosen by God from the Ahl al-Bayt (the ‘Family of the House,’ Muhammad’s direct descendants).”
The President correctly expounded that the Abu Sayyaf’s having this goal “poses a problem for peace efforts.”
This is because, he explained, the Abus “are no longer willing to talk on the basis of what government can give them, such as schools” and material possessions to ensure the well-being and development of their Muslim community.
The Abus wish to establish a Muslim state in the form of the one that was formed in the early years of Islam.
Again from Wikipedia:
“A caliphate is the Islamic form of government representing the political unity and leadership of the Muslim world. The political authority of a Caliph as head of state of a Caliphate comes from the fact that he is seen as a successor to the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
“According to Sunnis he is ideally a member of the Quraysh tribe elected by Muslims or their representatives; and according to Shia Islam, an Imam descended in a line from the Ahl al-Bayt. From the time of Muhammad until 1924, caliphates were held by various dynasties, some of them at the same time. They included the Umayyads (who were driven from Damascus to Córdoba), the Abbasids (who ruled from Baghdad and drove away the Umayyads from Damascus), the Fatimids (who ruled from Cairo), and finally the Ottomans.
“The caliphate is the only form of governance that has full approval in traditional Islamic theology, and ‘is the core political concept of Sunni Islam, by the consensus of the Muslim majority in the early centuries.”
Caliphate or nothing
What the Abus want “is either the caliphate or nothing,” President Duterte said.
Therefore they must be exterminated.
Correctly, the President has ordered an all-out offensive against the Abu Sayyaf Group.
He warns us Filipinos that “it’s a long fight ahead.”
We should all support the government in this fight not only morally and spiritually.