Terrorism is rooted in religion and is international in character

3

MARGARITA ‘TINGTING’ COJUANGCO

Last of a 6-part series
I WAS unaware visiting Camp Abubakar as a scholar and cultural researcher in the late 1980s of the Camp Hudaibiyah that lay in its future. The trust nurtured between Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) commander Murad Ibrahim, Zac Candao, Lanang Ali, Ustadz Abdul Halil Yayah and Ustadz Paisigan and myself was rooted in a shared struggle to provide the basic necessities for the development of Muslim communities.

Murad drove me in his top-down jeep through Camp Abubakar, passing fields of corn, peanuts and durian trees surrounded by jungle where the mujaheddin did their combat exercises. A beautiful view lay before me. The hills of Buldon and Barira, a storehouse of legends Indiripatra and Sulaiman and Moro history brought me to soaring heights. Lush trees provided security for the trainees and people who trekked just a day to reach the MILF’s Camp Bushra in Butig, Lanao del Sur. Without the demarcation of territories north, south, east and west, the MILF extended their perimeters to vast lengths and widths, cordoning off large areas against law enforcers and the Philippine Army. I had gone as well to Pinjamen in Butig in search of Bantugan’s kingdom found in the Maranao epic, Darangen.

We stopped before a group of men lined up outside the two-story MILF school. We had interrupted a roll call. A line formation was organized in honor of their commander. As we approached, the MILF mujaheddin stood erect, carrying their rifles and wearing an assortment of clothing without any identifiable badges or uniforms as combatants. Some wore combat boots, others rubber slippers. Some had short hair, others long hair. Their shirts were of varied colors; some wore fatigue pants, and others jeans.

Funded by al-Qaeda
At the end of the Afghan war, Camp Hudaibiyah of the Jemaah Islamiyah’s Indonesian Islamic Liberation Front was established in Camp Abubakar in 1994 on orders of Emir Abdullah Sungkar in Indonesia. Mohammad Nasser bin Abbas alias Sulaiman, the head of Mantique 3 in southern Philippines and Indonesia, established the camps with the MILF.


Few were allowed access to Hudaibiyah, it being an Indonesian camp. It was built and organized with al-Qaeda funds. More than a thousand al-Qaeda-linked terrorists arrested in Southeast Asia confessed that they had trained in the Philippines.

In August 1998, an 18-month military training took place in Hudaibiyah, Camp Abubakar, called Kuleyah Harbiya Daurohaskarayah (KHD), on tactics, weapons training, map reading, explosives and religion. Tactics involved maneuver, ambush, raids, observation, patrolling, and firing and marksmanship.

Several intelligence documents contained lists of foreigners training in the MILF camps, including Camp Bushra. According to a source I interviewed in 2001, he himself met there 14 foreign men – from Indonesia, Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

After government troops seized Camp Abubakar in 2000, Camp Hudeibiyah withdrew to Mt. Caracao 1. But because of the lack of water there, the entire Hudaibiyah and mujaheddin fighters transferred to Caracao 2 close to the boundary of Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao at Camp Jabal Quba.

The “structural’ operatives reported through the chain of command to JI leaders in Indonesia. After the 2002 Bali bombing, fugitives from Indonesia began arriving at the camp. They were termed “non-structural” because they had no specific assignments and were more or less free agents. Arriving again were Indonesians Umar Patek and Abdul Dulmatin.

After the military intensified attacks in Basilan and Jolo in 2003, key Abu Sayyaf leaders, including Abdulrajak’s brother Khadaffy Janjalani and Isnilon Hapilon, traveled to Zamboanga, then to Pawas. They stayed until they were expelled by the MILF in September 2005 in the interest of peace talks with the government.

Terrorist financing
There was funding for these terrorists from Osama bin Laden through Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, a tall, handsome Afghan veteran who was Bin Laden’s brother-in- law. He arrived in the Philippines in the 1980s and formed foundations in the aid of his Muslim brothers. I met him in Cotabato City in the late 1980s.

Police intelligence officer Rodolfo Mendoza Jr., in an evaluation of terrorist financing, wrote that the International Islamic Relief Organization was used by Osama bin Laden and Khalifa to distribute funds for the purchase of arms and other logistical requirements of the MILF and Abu Sayyaf. Only 10 to 30 percent of the foreign funding went to the legitimate relief and livelihood projects.

The International Islamic Relief Organization was also a key funder of the Markazzo Shahab Al-Islamiyah (MSI), one of MILF’s most important front organizations that was engaged in dawah (the practice or policy of conveying the message of Islam to non-Muslims) and its recruitment activities. Based in Lanao del Sur, it was affiliated with the Saudi organization, the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY).

Khalifa provided funding for the MSI through several charities and foundations, including the Muslim World League, and the Zaid Bin Thabit Koranic Center. The MSI was affiliated with a number of non-government organizations, one of which operated a 30-hectare training center in Pooana Bayabao, Lanao del Sur, which served as a non-military training center of the MILF. The International Islamic Relief Organization donated P8 million for the training center which was constructed by the Sahaba Development and Construction Inc., a company associated with MILF personalities. Khalifa’s organizations also operated in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

The Khalifa network, especially the unit that imported, exported, traded and recruited workers, served as the coordinating point for business transactions, terrorist activities and the recruitment of Islamic fighters for al-Qaida. In his capacity as the director for the International Islamic Relief Organization– Philippines, Khalifa served as its central authority with a dual character in the overall context of terrorist financing management and Islamic missionary-oriented approach which focused on the welfare of poor Islamic communities.

Khalifa helped finance the Abu Sayyaf Group whose founder, Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani was recruited by Khalifa and sent to Syria and Libya for training in the late 1980s. The ASG was reportedly able to expand its membership with the support of the Khalifa network.

It is disgusting that our elected government officials do not know of the entry of these terrorists since 1980 to overthrow our government. It is preposterous that our lawmakers are not aware of national security and external security. They must study them and learn of the threats to our country.

An important urgent question to be answered: If Islam is a religion of peace, why does terrorism threaten our peace? According to Islam, the first and the foremost basic right of human beings is the right to live. Yet, acts of terrorism are principally perpetrated by believers of Islam from strongholds within “Muslim Mindanao.” In fact, these terrorists are scholars, clerics, preachers of Islam who are helping men who engage in terrorism in their religious struggle, their jihad towards the creation of an Islamic State. These holy warriors are here and now in the Philippines to establish an Islamic caliphate.

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3 Comments

  1. It is sometimes disgusting that no amount of defensive explanation can make critics/detractors of Islam tone down in their monotonous portray of Islam as religion of terror.
    The verse of the Holy Quran is often mentioned to malign Islam. The verse does not say infidels it says idolaters. (9:5) And when the forbidden months have passed, kill the idolaters wherever you find them and take them prisoners, and beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they repent and observe Prayer and pay the Zakat, then leave their way free. Surely, Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful.

    This verse, chapter 9 verse 5, is often used as evidence that Islam allows killing of non-Muslims, but what is not recognized is the context and history behind these verses. The history of this verse is that when Prophet Muhammad(sa) began preaching the unity of God he was persecuted for 13 years, much as Prophets Abraham and Jesus were. Since Muslims who are being persecuted are encouraged to leave for safer areas, rather than create disorder, Muhammad(sa) and his followers migrated to Medina. After they left, the Meccans attacked them in Medina on and off for a period of nine years until Chapter 9 was revealed.

    Looking at the context of the verses, it becomes obvious that the commandment of this verse only relates to those tribes who continued hostilities against the Muslims even after they had migrated. In particular, reference is made to 5 tribes (‘Banu Khuza’ah, Banu Mudlij, Banu Bakr, Banu Damrah, and Banu Sulaiim) that did not honor the treaties they made with Muslims. It is also important to remember that the preceding verses give these people respite for 4 months to reconsider their behavior and cease hostilities. Sadly after 4 months passed, the enemies of Islam continued their hostilities against the Muslims. Only then was Prophet Muhammad(sa) commanded by God to meet them in battle to defend Muslims and the religion of Islam.

    Even in this situation the Quran states that if the enemies repent of their behavior and promise to fulfill their treaties, it becomes incumbent on Muslims to cease military action and forgive them. Unfortunately those who take this specific verse out of context fail to see that as the title Al-Taubah suggests, the main subject matter of the chapter is forgiveness and repentance.

  2. What Ting-ting Cojuangco did was like an infiltrator or DPA–befriending these alleged figures and made a bombshell out of what she allegedly observed. The nature of the character she portrayed was something easily prone to concocting lies. What makes her think that we will believe here hook. line and sinker. I recall someone told us that she was responsible for the abolition of the Zamboanga Barter Trade. She made those traders sign a document signifying their full support for the Cory Aquino administration. When they took the bait, without their knowledge, she replaced the features of the document into concurring in the establishment by Chinese traders of similar barter trade in Manila. To the surprise of the Zamboanga traders, they found stiff competitors leading to the collapse of the Muslim Barter Trade, an initiatiave of Marcos to pacify Moro insurgency.

  3. Im not a religious man at all. I think very clever people thought of it as a way of controlling the masses. If there was this all powerful god who created everything including the universe ( i wonder if he also created himself ) then im sure when creating us he could have made us all be nice law abiding people. Of all the worlds religions ( remember they all believe in this same god but each claim him for their own ) the worst is islam. They want to indoctrinate all so as to control them. They teach by killing in the name of god they will go to paradise ( heaven ) & be given i think 62 virgins. I wonder if the female martyr would get 62 studs. Get rid of religion & the world will be a better place. From paedophile priests ( & imams ) to bombing innocent children no you will never make a believer of me. If it ever comes to a war against these muslims i would gladly give my life in defence of my country & our freedoms. Listen to people like christopher hitchens & richard dawkins, they speak with clarity on religion & the stupidity of it. Stop indoctrinating our children from birth about religion. Wait till they are good clear thinkers then tell them about religion & allow them to make up their own minds