Philippines Jihad Update. “MILF: Religious leaders calling for jihad vs govt,” from GMA News, September 20:
MANILA, Philippines “” Religious leaders in Lanao are calling for a jihad (holy war) in fighting “oppressors” against Islam, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) claimed Saturday.
In a statement on its website (www.luwaran.com), the MILF said the calls were made in sermons of religious leaders during Friday congregational prayers.
“Sermons of the religious leaders of Lanao provinces in Friday’s congregational prayers called on the Bangsamoro to unite and wage jihad fi sabilillah in fighting the oppressors, religious persecutors and enemies of Islam,” it said.
That is, jihad for the sake of Allah, which refers to armed conflict.
The government has not immediately responded to the alleged jihad calls.
It added that after the prayers, religious folks voiced concerns that the government might again launch massive military offensives during the Eid Al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan.
The MILF recalled that the government started its all-out war campaign in 2003 against the MILF and the Bangsamoro people on Feb. 11 at Buliok Islamic Center.
Buliok was where the late MILF Chairman Salamat Hashim was delivering a khutbah (sermon) for the Eid Al-Adha (the feast of pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia).
On the other hand, the MILF noted that while President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo joins some Muslim groups in their iftar (meal to break the fast at sundown), other Muslim communities in Mindanao are sore at her for government’s “unprincipled attacks” on their homes.
The MILF said the Muslim populace of Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte assailed the attacks launched Friday by the military as “totally insensitive and unprincipled.”
The Geneva Convention never really said much about being gauche.
“Heavy bombardments were unleashed by the AFP when we Muslims were partaking suhur (allowable early morning meals before fasting starts) and the iftar,” the MILF quoted text messages from the Muslims in Lanao.
The government has responded since this report, and they sound much more nonchalant about it than they should be. “Political gambit, Palace says of MILF ‘jihad’,” also from GMA News, September 20:
MANILA, Philippines – Calling it a political gambit, MalacaÃ±ang on Saturday dismissed the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)’s claim that religious leaders in Mindanao were calling for a jihad against the government.
Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said there was no basis for the call because the pursuit against rogue MILF commanders was not about religion. […]
Also, Ermita said a jihad could only be waged [if] there was an actual justification. However, he said the MILF had no religious basis to call for a holy war.
In Ermita’s opinion. The only problem is, the jihadists aren’t going to look to a government they’re fighting to make that call.