ON Monday our page 1 banner was “Islamic Caliphate now in PH.” Some readers complained, disappointed that the story was not about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has declared its organizing principle to be that of an Islamic Caliphate and its highest leader to be a caliph or successor to the Prophet Mohammed, sending its commanders to the Philippines and establishing a branch of the ISIS here. The ISIS Caliphate does not control the larger part of either Iraq or Syria but only some areas of these two Arab countries. These are the areas that are being bombed by a US-led coalition of Western countries and Muslim countries whose rulers and governments agree that the ISIS Caliphate’s leaders, commanders and soldiers are terrorists and murderers whose program and ideology oppose the peaceable, compassionate and divine religion the Prophet Mohammed founded and his successors nurtured and spread.
Our correspondent Moh I. Saaduddin’s story was about members of the jihadist group Ghuraba (Arabic for strangers or foreigners) in Lanao del Sur declaring that they have formed an Islamic Caliphate or Khilafah Islamiyah. Sources told Saadudin that Ghuraba’s Lanao-based Islamic Caliphate is headed by a Humam Abdul Najid, who is known to be the leader of the newly identified Khilafah Islamiyah Mindanao-Black Flag Movement (KIM-BFM).
According to the same sources, the group was responsible for several violent criminal activities in Mindanao, including the killing of American Michael Alan Turner in Cagayan de Oro City on February 17, 2013.
Ghuraba is also known in the United Kingdom, Pakistan and Indonesia.
A mosque in Lanao was reported last week to have been flying the ISIS flag. Maranao and Maguindanao Muslim clerics, with adherents, appear on videos shown on YouTube, and vendors of CDs claim brisk sales of ISIS propaganda videos.
It was one of the late Osama bin-Laden’s doctrines that the mujahideen must not establish a Caliphate prematurely, which is why the founders of the ISIS, who were originally with Al-Qaeda, broke away.
The military and the police contend against those who claim that the ISIS is already indeed here. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front also says there is no ISIS branch in the Philippines. But in the same breath MILF warns that Moros could be swayed to support the ISIS if their grievances are not attended to by the authorities.
We are sure the main “grievances” the MILF leaders are referring too are connected with the passage by Congress of the Bangsamoro Basic Law and finally the creation of the Bangsamoro substate. They want firmer action by the Aquino Government to give the MILF leaders their wished-for Bangsamoro self-determination, starting with the enactment of the BBL, then the creation of the Bangsamoro substate in the guise of a region larger than the ARMM. We know that finally they want the separation of this Bangsamoro substate/region from the Philippine Republic.
This is the self-determination they really want.