Is Peace Possible In Mindanao?


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Zorro’s photo is no longer on the header because I want to freely write anything that comes to mind.  I might write something that will offend people, and I don’t want them to hurt an innocent guy.  Please don’t think of the new photo as my representation of Zorro.  I just like the image–even gorillas think.  I also edited my very first post in which I explained the title of this blog and revealed some information about myself.  I hope they’re enough for you to know where I’m coming from and why I have this intense desire to share my ideas I believe our country needs.

Let me say this first: I am no Islamophobe.  I had brilliant Muslim friends and dorm mates in college.  I enjoyed their company.  I admired their intellect.  I like their culture and some aspects of their religion, but I can’t swallow the Islamist politics of some.  I also don’t believe in religion, so I’m neither Catholic nor Protestant. I’m humbled though by the most powerful spiritual entity or force I can never fathom.  I need to believe in that spiritual entity or force to make sense of the beautiful things around me.  I am spiritual but not religious. So this post has no tinge of religious prejudice and intolerance.  I treat the issue according to how I see it using historical and current facts and cases.

Islam is a religion.  Whether it’s a religion of peace is debatable.  Muslim Mindanao hasn’t been peaceful since my parents were children until now that they have grandchildren.  I believe it will never be peaceful because the core of Islamic faith is violence.  When I read the sacred texts of Islam–Quran, Haddith, Sunnah, and Sira–I felt like I was watching a historical movie.  The setting was in the Arabian desert, the time was during the Middle Ages, and the theme was violence.  I couldn’t believe I was reading the theological foundations and bases of a fast-growing religion in the twenty-first century.

I don’t really wonder why there are Muslims who are capable of beheading, stoning, hanging, blowing up, and maiming people. The violence in the Islamic texts that they read or encounter early in their lives is just too much.  If we can blame the violent media for the violence we see and experience in our society, why can’t we blame the Islamic texts for the violent acts and barbaric behaviors of Muslim extremists, fundamentalists, and jihadists?  When a child is reared in intense hatred towards “infidels”–non-Muslims or non-believers of Islam–of course, he’ll grow up a hateful person ready to kill those he hates. If Muslim children are forced to study or read the Islamic texts, they are, in a way, also forced to learn violence.

If you bombard someone with Communist and Socialist texts, manifestos, and exhortations and he passively accepts and swallows them like they are the sources of enlightenment or nirvana, chances are that he will  join an anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist armed struggle or a militant people’s movement like the New People’s Army (NPA).  I saw many of that kind when I was in college.  Also, anyone who grows up in an environment where violence is the order of the day or the reality of everyday life has the tendency to be violent himself.   That environment and socialization affect personality and behavior is a fact.     .

I believe all Muslims are prone to commit violence against Non-Muslims. Such violence against non-believers may not yet be a big problem in Mindanao, but it doesn’t mean it won’t be in the future.  The thing to remember here is that killing “kafirs”—another term for “infidels”–is encouraged in the sacred texts of Islam, and the violent form of jihad–the religious duty of every Muslim to fight against the enemies of Islam–is valued and encouraged with concepts of martyrdom and paradise in the hereafter or afterlife.  Anyone exposed to such hateful, intolerant mental conditioning is a latent jihadist.  You also have to consider that “enemies of Islam” is a wide generalization. They can be non-Muslims, ex-Muslims, non-Islamic states, or non-supporters of Islam.

If some of the Filipino Muslims are giving the Philippine government a political headache, it’s because the government is ruled and dominated by “infidels”.  It’s not about economic and political freedoms.  The government has already given in to their clamor for a Muslim autonomous region, yet there are still armed Islamists and dangerous jihadists in Mindanao and kidnappings by Abu Sayyaf and bombings by Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) still happen.  It’s not really about empowering the Muslims economically and politically, is it?  What have they done with the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)?  It is nothing but a failure, yet the government wants to reward the Muslims with Bangsamoro, a bigger ARMM with more autonomy and independence and more political  and economic power.  Wake up, Filipinos.  Take note, Philippine government.

Even if the government gives the whole of Mindanao to the Filipino Muslims, still there will be no peace.  Their next target will be the entire Philippines. This is not about an issue of territory but of religious struggle—to Islamize the Philippines and the entire Filipinos.  I know that won’t happen, but that is their goal. So, conflict will never stop.  I even read some posts Online asking why only parts of Mindanao and why not the entire Philippines.  Is this Islamization of democratic states a trend in many parts of the world?  Germany, France, and England have already taken notice of such trend.

Have you ever wondered why the Muslims in Sabah who have ties to Mindanao are not interested to arm themselves and fight against the Malaysian government although the claim of the Royal House of Sulu over Sabah is more solid than the claim of the Filipino Muslims over Mindanao?  The Sabah issue doesn’t involve a religious zeal for jihad, and that’s the huge difference.  Malaysia is somewhat an Islamic country already dominated by Muslims, and fighting against the governments of “infidels” is much better because of the godly rewards.  Imagine if it were ruled mostly by Jewish or Christians, would the Muslims of Mindanao stand idle while their territorial claim was denied and their fellow Muslims were massacred in Sabah?

The Mindanao issue is rather comparable to the Arab-Israeli conflict.  Even if Israel were to give most of its territory to the Palestinians, still there would be no peace in that area of Middle East.   If you look beyond the surface, like what’s happening in Mindanao, the territorial claim is just a facade of the real struggle: religious extremism.  I wonder if the Philippine government has already realized that it has been a victim of a political  extortion perpetrated by the closet Islamists and jihadists  in Mindanao, Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The aim of this post is to remind the  government that it has to  adopt a new set of paradigms in dealing with Muslim Mindanao.  First, it has to recognize that the concern of the Muslims in Mindanao is religious not political or economic and not territorial or ethnic.  Second,  Islam is not a religion of peace.  Third, the goal of Islamist and  jihadist groups is to Islamize the world and impose Sharia Law all over the globe. Fourth, there are no moderate Muslims but Muslims who are not yet fully indoctrinated with Islamism, jihadism, and extremism.  Fifth, integration not segregation is the solution to the Mindanao conflict.

Before even thinking of a paradigm shift, the government should read “Jihad is the Way” by Mustafa Mashhur, a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, a powerful Islamist and jihadist movement that is spreading all over the world, currently Islamizing democratic countries, and advancing its goal of Islamic world domination.  He wrote:

“The youth should know that the problems of the Islamic world, such as Palestine, Afghanistan, Syria, Eritrea, or the Philippines, are not issues of territories and nations, but of faith and religion. They are problems of Islam and the Muslims, and they can be resolved neither by negotiation nor by recognizing the enemy’s right to the Islamic land he stole. Rather, the only option is Jihad for Allah, and this is why Jihad is the way.”

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