DAVAO CITY: POLICE and immigration agents on Sunday arrested in this city Canadian Muslim scholar and professor Dr. Abu Ameen Bilal Philips, whom authorities suspect has ties with some Muslim radical extremist groups.
Philips, who has been banned from entering the United States and the United Kingdom, was conducting a lecture in a predominantly Muslim village when he was invited for questioning and subsequently held in custody by authorities.
Chief Supt. Wendy Rosario, director of the Philippine National Police in Southern Mindanao, said the 68-year-old Philips is considered a threat to national security.
Rosario said Philips is being questioned for his possible links with terror groups including the ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), noting that his records are enough to sound alarm bells as the scholar was also banned in Kenya, Germany and Australia.
Authorities could not say when Philips arrived in the Philippines but they believe that he has been going in and out of the country since he is married to a Filipina.
Philips came under scrutiny in Britain for apparently condoning suicide bombings when he declared that “when you look at the mind of the suicide bomber, it’s a different intention altogether, the enemy is either too heavily armed, or they don’t have the type of equipment that can deal with it.”
“So the only other option they have is to try to get some people amongst them and then explode the charges to save the lives of their comrades. So this is not really considered to be suicide in the true sense. This is a military action and human lives are sacrificed in that military action. This is really the bottom line for it and that’s how we should look at it,” he was quoted as saying.
Philips was banned in the US and Britain after several booklets and pamphlets that he authored were found in the room of some suicide bombers.
On Monday, Immigration prosecutor Homer Arellano issued a deportation charge against Philips, who was born in Jamaica but spent several years in the Middle East as an Islamic teacher.
The charge noted that the presence of Philips in the Philippines “poses risks to public safety.” The lawyers of Philips have filed an application for his voluntary exit.
In an online article posted in March, Philips admitted to meeting Osama Bin Laden’s brother-in-law while he was conducting Da’wah or Islamic teaching in the Philippines.
“I do not know him [Osama]; neither have I ever met him but when I was doing Da’wah in the Philippines his brother-in-law happened to have a Da’wah center which I used to go to and give Da’wah, I knew him,” he was also quoted as saying.
He added that he was linked to Bin Laden because he knew his brother-in-law, but denied that he knew the former al-Qaeda head personally.