• IS ‘virus’ ideology threat to Philippines – MILF

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    COTABATO CITY: The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Wednesday said the real threat from the Islamic Caliphate (IS) or Khilafah Islamiyah in Arabic is its “virus” ideology and not the small groups from the Philippines which are joining the IS caliphate in Iraq.

    Last week, former president Fidel Ramos and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte revealed that there are some 100 members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), splinter groups of the MILF, who joined the IS in Iraq for training and returned home to apply what they learned.

    The MILF said the reports are “unverified,” but warned that the real threat is not in the two groups joining the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), now called as IS, but the “contagious and infectious” ideology they are espousing.

    “Their number is too tiny to be felt and make a difference. The ISIS is overflowing with volunteers from all over the world, including those from the United States, United Kingdom, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Australia,” the 12,000-strong MILF said in a statement posted in its official website www.luwaran.com.

    The MILF described the IS ideology as a “virus” that are “attractive to those who want adventures and pre-occupied with hatred and revenge.”

    Muslim clerics in Lanao del Sur backed the MILF statement and urged the government to take steps in countering the “emerging groups” who are advocating the Khilafah Islamiyah ideology in the region.

    Sources from the Ulama [Muslim clerics] in the province, a former elected official of Lanao del Sur, who asked not to be named for security reasons, confirmed that there are “unknown groups” in the province promoting the establishment of Khilafah Islamiyah in the region since three years.

    He said that religious leaders who opposed the Khilafah Islamiyah ideology are fighting extremists in order to guide them into “tuwid na daan” or right path.

    The police intelligence community said it is tracking down members of the Khilafah Islamiyah Movement (KIM), a group involved in major bomb attacks in North and Central Mindanao.

    Eight people died and 30 others, including children, were wounded in a car bomb blast in Cotabato City on August 5, 2013. In Cagayan de Oro City, a bomb exploded at the Limketkai Shopping Complex on July 26, 2013 killing eight while the Maxandrea Hotel bombing on October 11, 2012 left two dead.

    The bombing in Maxandrea was the group’s protest against GMA 7 for making a film about the marriage between a Christian man and a Muslim woman entitled “Haram” which is against the customs and traditions of the Muslims, the police said.

    The movie series, which starred Dingdong Dantes as Luis, a soldier who falls in love with Nadi, played by Kylie Padilla, was cancelled on September 2012 due to sensitive issues about Muslim faith, it was learned.

    The KIM, also known as Khalifa Islamiyah Mindanao-Black Flag Movement, an al-Qaeda-linked Islamist militant group, was organized by an Afghan-trained Islamic cleric Ustadz Humam Abdul Najid, and had links to Southeast Asian militant Islamist terrorist organization Jema’ah Islamiya (JI), the sources said.

    The radical group had also strong ties with other extreme jihadists in Mindanao such as the ASG, the BIFF, the Al-Khobar Group and the Rajah Solaiman Movement, which noted for bombing, kidnapping, extortion and beheading activities, the sources added.

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