First of Two Parts
It is quite astonishing. The civilized world has been aghast over the jihadist carnage in Paris since it occurred two weeks ago. In just a few years, what was once merely a rag-tag army called the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) has grown strong to challenge the US and the West, and even Russia, vowing to destroy their cities.
Yet, Senate President Franklin Drilon is apparently unaware of all these developments, and instead of joining the world in condemning the ISIS atrocities, instead, boasts that Congress will pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which critics have been warning could eventually lead to an Islamic state in our country.
ISIS’ big difference from its predecessor, Al-Qaeda (“The Base”), which had really fuzzy ideas about its ultimate goal after it had destroyed the US (“The Great Satan”), is that it vows to establish a global Caliphate, an Islamic state. This is emphasized in its name, which in Arabic is transliterated as “Dawlat-al Islamiya Iraq Sham,” with Dawlat meaning “state.” The ISIS’ success in taking over major cities in Iraq and Syria has, therefore, fired up militant Muslims worldwide, that at last, they could help in the establishment of a worldwide Caliphate.
And how does “Bangsamoro” translate? It is the Moro Nation-State, with Moro, of course, being the former pejorative name for Muslims in Mindanao, which the Islamic insurgents have in defiance embraced.
The MILF, and sadly even this gullible (or bought?) Administration, has been claiming that what will be established is merely an “autonomous region,” which will still be part of the Philippines.
This is all clearly hogwash, which President Aquino and his naïve, yet egoistic negotiators would easily see as such if their minds were not obsessed that they could win the Nobel Peace.
Read the BBL and it says it will establish all the three essential attributes of a nation-state for Muslims in Mindanao: a clearly-defined territory and people, a state which will even be a parliamentary one in violation of the Constitution, and even its own army, disguised as the Bangsamoro Police.
There has been no such “autonomous” Muslim entity anywhere in the world because of one major reason: It is an article of Islamic faith for its faithful to seek to establish an Islamic state. After all, one of the main accomplishments of its founder was to establish the first Islamic state, and Islam had been a martial religion in its growth, expanding ITS caliphates throughout the world.
In contrast, there is no such article of faith for establishing a theocracy among non-Muslim religions and minorities as the mountain tribes in our case, or even the Basques or Catalans in Spain, or the French in Quebec, which makes autonomous regions for them feasible and without risking dismemberment of the nations they are part of.
Except for the Philippines, countries with substantial Muslim populations have, therefore, veered away from establishing “autonomous Muslim regions” as that would only open the way for the eventual secession of such territories. Strongmen like Indonesia’s Suharto and Malaysia’s Tunku Abdul Rahman fiercely – and with violence – made sure that no Islamic group could advocate an Islamic state in their countries which are predominantly Muslim.
Marcos was arm-twisted with the threat of an oil embargo in 1976 by the Libyan strongman Gaddafi to agree to an autonomous region for Southern Philippines as a means to end the MNLF insurgency. Since the insurgents also fought Marcos, Corazon Aquino thought to reward them by prodding the Constitutional Commission to require the establishment of an Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
The framers of the 1987 Constitution, however, were clever enough not to give room to Muslim insurgents to control the autonomous region and develop it to acquire the resources to demand secession. But thanks to Filipino corruption – whatever their religion – the ARMM has never developed the unity and strength to become a prototype for an Islamic state.
That Islamic ideal had been bludgeoned to near extinction after the fall of the last Islamic empire of the Ottomans and the colonization by Western powers of most Muslim-dominated countries and areas.
That ideal was revived, though, with the help of Muslim Middle Eastern countries’ newfound wealth when they wrested control of their oil from the West. That was given expression by what is called Wahhabism, after an 18th-century preacher and scholar, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, who propagated teachings that are now labeled as jihadist thinking. Ironically, it’s the rich Arab nations, especially Saudi Arabia, which have been funding Wahhabist religious missions all over the world, which explains why such teachings have spread so fast in just two decades.
The founder of the MILF, Hashim Salamat, fell under the spell of Wahhabist thinking when he studied to be a Muslim cleric at the Al-Azhzar University in Cairo. In an interview, he said he drew inspiration from Syed Qutb – a famous teacher of Wahhabism that was al-Qaeda’s spiritual teacher.
Same worldview as ISIS
That the MILF still shares the same worldview as the ISIS is the reason why it can’t condemn that barbaric organization even after the Paris massacres.
Yes, there have been some news reports headlined, “MILF condemns Paris attacks.” But the actual MILF statement of just four paragraphs has no reference at all to the ISIS. IT even reminds readers that such atrocities have been undertaken against Muslims in “in Palestine, in Myanmar, and elsewhere in the world.”
“We are deeply saddened by today’s tragic events in Paris, France. These blind, indiscriminate acts of violence deserve nothing but condemnation.
This is unacceptable. The MILF rejects such acts of terror against humanity and all peace-loving peoples.
Our thoughts are with the victims and their families. May we all find our way through these troubled times and emerge with a stronger resolve to pursue peace for all peoples in all parts of the world.
We take this opportunity also to condemn in same strong terms the violence against civilians in Palestine, in Myanmar, and elsewhere in the world.”
I couldn’t even find that statement in MILF’s official webpage luwaran.com, as if it was sent only to media to be forgotten and not to be included in its archives.
What I found equally shocking is that Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita Deles-Quintos and her factotum with the MILF, Miriam Coronel – who routinely issues press releases almost every day, and who has been telling us day in and day out not to be worried about Islamic jihadism – didn’t even bother to issue a statement on what is, next to the Twin Towers 9/11 carnage, the most horrible act of Muslim holy war in this century.
Even more astonishing is that the President himself seems to be afraid of mentioning the word “ISIS.” Was he told by the MILF not to?
Here is Aquino’s statement on the Paris attack, nearly as short as the MILF’s:
Terror and brutality have plunged the City of Light, Paris, into the darkness of horror and grief. The Philippines and its people stand in solidarity with the people of Paris and all of France, in this time of deepest sorrow and the gravest outrage against the perpetrators of these crimes.
The deaths of over a hundred in the attack on the Bataclan Concert Hall, the vicinity of the Stade de France, and on restaurants in the city center, were atrocities that demand a united voice from the world in condemnation and grief. In our time of need, France and her people stood shoulder to shoulder with the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. We stand with France now, in the firm belief that the light must never dim in Paris.
For our part, we reassure our fellow citizens that we are taking all necessary precautions. The PNP is on alert and our security forces are assessing the situation, including the continuing evaluation of our security procedures. There is no credible threat registered at this time but let us all be cooperative and vigilant. The Department of Foreign Affairs will be issuing updates on the situation in Paris and has been directed to render all necessary assistance to our countrymen in France.
We’re still lucky. If not for the Mamasapano massacre, in which 44 of our elite policemen were massacred by Muslim insurgents, including MILF guerillas, and if not for Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., who put in his best effort to prevent Aquino from ramming the BBL down the throats of legislators in Congress, a plot to establish an Islamic State in Mindanao and Sulu had been stopped dead in its tracks.
Aquino said that P70 billion would be raised to fund the Bangsamoro nation-state when the BBL is approved. Why not devote that much money, instead, to the existing ARMM, through better infrastructure, public utilities, and education, without having to give insurgents the political power they could later use to establish an Islamic state?
On Monday: Does the MILF have links with ISIS?