Militant Islam’s Expansion in the Southern Philippines — страница 2

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This led to an increased interest to the ideology of Islamism. Islamism is profoundly different in that it is more of a political order with an emphasis on communities aspiring to create a new order.[6] This ideology took control over the south; and the Muslims became a central element in the national policy-making.[7] Islamism is a slightly radical form of Islam, where the goal includes promoting Islam within the political influence. Specifically in the southern Philippines, the goal consists of gaining an independent Islamic state by penetrating the political field with its own Islamic members. From Islamism stems militant Islam, which is a more extreme, fundamentalist practice of Islam that uses combative force to further its agenda. In the southern Philippines, the militant

Islamic agenda includes using whatever means necessary to achieve their autonomous state. The Filipino Muslims do not want to be ruled in a secular form of government, rather they are pushing for independence so as to have their own Islamic State, where Islamic law rules them. Many have turned to the practice of militant Islam, using violent measures in hopes of attaining their goal quicker. Militant Islam’s popularity is increasing at a rapid pace. The southern Philippines have become a site for violent terrorist actions by separatist Muslim groups, including the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). The disastrous actions taken by these groups clearly define militant Islam. All three of these groups share

in the same separatist struggle in the southern Philippines; however, they do have their unique attributes. The MNLF is an insurgent group that started out as a rebellion group that managed to bring most partisan Moro forces into its framework. The MNLF fights and conducts guerilla warfare for an independent Moro nation. Quite a few times, the MNLF engaged in talks with the government over attaining an autonomous region, which eventually led to the government’s offer of a fragmented four-province Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). They did sign a peace agreement in 1996 with the Philippine government.[8] The other two groups have rejected the agreement signed with the government. The MILF is a more moderately active militant group, primarily concerned with the

implementation of a fully Islamic State. The MILF is the vanguard of the Islamic movement in the Bangsamoro homeland in Mindanao and the neighboring islands. It was formed in 1977 as it split from the MNLF.[9] The MILF is taking advantage of the dissatisfaction expressed by many [Muslims] in the MNLF and the ARMM. They view the agreement and the autonomous region offered as not enough. The MILF is working through the political system, influencing local politics and winning the local elections, then moving upwards. They have continued to wage armed campaigns against the Filipino military.[10] The Abu Sayyaf Group is by far the most violent of the separatist groups. The leaders of the ASG allegedly fought in Afghanistan during the Soviet war and are students and proponents of

radical Islamic teachings. The group is largely self-financed through ransom and extortion; and it most likely also receives support from Islamic extremists in the Middle East and South Asia. Its activities include engaging in kidnappings for ransom, bombings, beheadings of missionaries, assassinations, and extortion. Over time, the ASG has geared more towards using terror for financial profit. It is estimated to have 200-500 members.[11] The group reportedly has links to the broader Al-Qa’ida network. The group espouses violent religious intolerance and the elimination of Christian influence in Mindanao.[12] ASG is the smallest of the separatist groups, but it is the most vicious in character. Their extremely violent behavior attracts other radical Islamic groups

internationally. These militant groups instill fear into the Philippine government and the non-Muslim people through their activist means. The ASG and MILF show no effort to compromise with the government as they continue to deliberately terrorize people with their heinous acts. Reaching this state of autonomy so as to implement an Islamic rule of law is of utmost necessity to them. In the southern Philippines, rampant poverty, the lack of government services, and the actions of the military pushed more civilians to support the Abu Sayyaf.[13] These factors along with other characteristics specific to the Philippines explain the heightened attraction to the southern region. These militant Islamic groups invite an atmosphere for harboring terrorism. The Philippines proves to be an