All the rush by Western leaders to condemn the Islamic State and pronounce it un-Islamic overlooks the very real appeal that it has for many Muslims worldwide, because of its claim to reconstitute the caliphate. Restoring the caliphate is a primary goal of every jihad group in the world. Glibly dismissing the Islamic State as un-Islamic does nothing to blunt this appeal.
“Muslim rebels in Philippines vow allegiance to IS,” by Barnaby Lo, CCTV.com, September 17, 2014 (thanks to Kenneth):
A video is doing the rounds which shows members of the Abu Sayyaf pledging allegiance to the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. Another armed group in the Southern Philippines, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, has offered its support to ISIL. A few other clips of Filipino Muslims vowing loyalty to ISIL – including one supposedly shot inside a high security prison – have been making the rounds on the Internet. There are reports that about a hundred young Filipino Muslims have joined the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, two of whom were allegedly killed in battle.
The Philippines military has long battled Muslim extremists in the country’s South. The Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group for instance,, has been blamed for some of the deadliest bombings and high profile kidnappings. The question now is whether the rise and influence of ISIL are presenting new challenges.
However, Philippines military says, there is no direct evidence, so far, of ISIL recruitment in the country. If Filipino Muslims have indeed joined the ranks of ISIL, however, it wouldn’t be the first time. In their early years, members of the Abu Sayyaf trained and fought with Afghan militants.
And while at least two radical Western Islamists have managed to enter the country, they’ve been arrested and deported, a sign both the government and analysts say that it may be a long way before ISIL becomes an imminent threat to the Philippines.