Saturday, November 6, 2010

JI, MILF and the Bangsamoros who strive towards Jihad

If you read today's Inquirer banner story written by my good friend, Arlyn dela Cruz, it just says that the police had monitored the movements of a supposed Jemaah Islamiyah member, allegedly the replacement of JI bomber Al-Ghozi. This man, along with five others, were monitored in the Maguindanao area, and might have already contacted the local terror group, the Abu Sayyaf. 


Now, is there any new development in this, considering that everybody in the intelligence community already knew of the presence of JI members in Mindanao. JI members have been in the area operating since the nineties and have been credited of having instigated several attacks in the past. These attacks, however, were confined in the Mindanao area. 


So, really, the presence of the JI in Mindanao is no big thing since they have been there conducting military training among MILF members. 


What is really alarming is not what they are doing now; the concern is what they are capable of doing in the future. 


There are confirmed reports that MILF members have been radicalized largely due to the JI. MILF members run in the thousands, and the spread of radical ideas especially coming from this group could really turn or transform the MILF into a regional, and armed jihadist group ready to serve not just the idea of a Bangsamoro republic but rather, the idea of building an Islamic caliphate in the Southeast Asian region.


The possibility of the MILF turning into a JI-inspired armed organization is real and high. There are confirmed reports that the Central Committee of the MILF does not have a very strong hold among the different MILF units in the ground, leading to a conclusion that a peace pact with the government would not lead to anything concrete, but the formal separation of ground units with the Central Command. Majority of MILF members does not want a peace pact with the Government of the Philippines--they want a separate state run by clerics. And most see armed struggle as the only way to effect such a change in the system.


Why is it that they still see armed struggle as the best way to effect a change in the Bangsamoro situation? Simple. The current pre-Islamic type of society that exists in Mindanao is haram.


So-called "royal families" and pseudo-datus and princes and princesses dominate the Mindanao landscape. Warlords backed by the military have continually oppressed the Bangsamoros. The non-presence of Central government nor that of its puppet, the ARMM contributes to the worsening of the social and economic condition of the Bangsamoros. 


What the Bangsamoros see now is the continuous worsening and degradation of their society and their way of life. Bangsamoros are most devout Muslims, yet, they live in a society where oppression remains and where the Shariah is not practised entirely.


This belief is largely shared even by ordinary Bangsamoros. Those who want nothing more than see an Islamic state rise in Mindanao, thinks that armed struggle is the answer. Those who are incapable of physical exertions, content themselves of supporting the cause as traders and merchants.


The war has also seen the spread of this belief even among communities outside Mindanao. The current war in Mindanao has forced many Muslim families to migrate to other sections of the archiepelago. Right now, there is no place where there is no Muslim community. All major cities in the Philippines have at least one Muslim community. 


The spread therefore of this radical idea is not confined in Mindanao anymore--it continues to animate the discussions of Bangsamoros, born Muslims and reverts living in other places in the Philippines. The entry of foreign clerics from Pakistan, Iran and Egypt have concretized this idea and it remains the dominant theory of change among Bangsamoros--born Muslims and reverts alike. 


Now, is government capable of convincing Bangsamoros not to tread the revolutionary path and instead, choose the democratic means of change?


I think that the stage has indeed been set to effect such an idea into reality. Peace groups, institutes of Peace and other organizations have failed in spreading a counter-idea. Why? 


Simple.  They are not Muslims. They want to learn the Islamic way to counter it but they fail every single time because their knowledge of Islam is not as deep as what a born Muslim or a revert knows. 


For example, they misuse the word "jihadist". They all think that all jihadists have embraced the radical way. Wrong. 


By lumping all jihadists together as one, they created a pseudo situation where all Muslims who strive towards a holy life are radicals. This belief has alienated most of those who only strive towards a holy life and not the armed struggle. 


Another is, these "institutes of peace" and peace groups are being used as intelligence units of the military. Every Bangsamoro knows it. That's why they are being fed the wrong information every single time they go to the ground. These institutes of peace are being used to bolster the global plan to effect a war between civilizations, a war based on the military doctrine of the United States. 


Security experts however, warn of a possible attack of a mall and a public transport system. Former intelligence expert Boogie Mendoza, who funds the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research, says that they have monitored such a plan by a group of "jihadists" now based in the Philippines. 


The question really is---do we now conclude that the advisories released by six countries, including the United States are more credible than the pronouncement made by the Armed Forces of the Philippines that they see no imminent threat coming from any foreign or domestic terror group?


There are persistent reports on the ground that shows that these domestic and foreign terror groups are domiciled and do not pose an imminent or immediate threat to the national security of the country.


WHAT THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE WARY ABOUT IS THE POSSIBILITY THAT THESE REPORTS MIGHT BE USED BY THE POLITICAL OPPOSITION, THOSE WHO WANT TO TOPPLE THIS GOVERNMENT THRU THE USE OF ARMS, TO MASK THEIR OWN EVIL INTENTIONS.


REMEMBER THAT THE LRT BOMBING WHICH PRECEDED THE TOPPLING OF THE ESTRADA ADMINISTRATION IN 2000 WAS FOUND TO BE THE HANDIWORK OF MILITARY FORCES, NOT THE MILF NOR THE ABU SAYYAF GROUP.


REMEMBER ALSO THAT SOME OF THE BOMBINGS IN DAVAO CITY WERE REPORTEDLY PART OF THE PLAN OF FORMER AFP CHIEF OF STAFF ANGELO REYES, AS REVEALED BY FORMER NAVY LT. SENIOR GRADE ANTONIO TRILLIANES.


IF AT ALL, AN ALLEGED "TERROR ATTACK" HAPPENS IN THE NEAR FUTURE, IT WOULD DEFINITELY BE THE HANDIWORK OF THE MILITARY AND NOT MUSLIM JIHADISTS. 


WE HAVE SEEN THIS PATTERN BEFORE. AND THE PUBLIC WILL NOT BE FOOLED ONCE MORE.