Islam in the Philippines Assignment

Islam in the Philippines Assignment Words: 3390

THE MORO JIHAD Continuous Struggle for Islamic Independence in Southern Philippines The Moroland The Moroland (presently known as “Southern Philippines”) is composed of Mindanao island (the second largest island of the Philippine islands) the Sulu archipelago, Palawan, Basilan and the neighbouring islands. The Moroland has the area of 116, 895 square kilometres (more than one third of the whole Philippine islands), with the population of more than twenty million of which 12 million are Muslims.

The rest are Highlanders (native inhabitants) and the Christian settlers from Luzon and Visayas. Arrival of Islam The arrival of Islam at the Moroland was in the year 1210 AC, that is more than three centuries before the arrival of Christianity brought by Ferdinand Magellan (a Portuguese who was then working for Spain) to the region in the year 1521 AC. Islam was introduced to the Moros by some Arab merchants and Islamic missionaries. Very soon after the arrival of Islam, the Islamic Sultanates were founded under the reign of the Moro Sultans themselves, such as; he Sultanate of Sulu embracing Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, Palawan and the neighbouring islands the Sultanate of Maguindanao where most of the Muslims are now living. The Spanish Invasion The Spanish Invaders, led by Ferdinand Magellan, upon arriving at the Philippines in the year 1521 AC had imposed the ‘Cross’ and the doctrine of Trinity upon the inhabitants by way of the sword. Consequently, the inhabitants of Luzon and Visayas were all baptized to Christianity. Of course, there had been an Islamic resistance in Manila led by Raja Sulaiman nd Lakandula, but that did not last long after the martyrdom of the two said leaders in the battlefield. None of the Islamic relics in Manila were left by the Spanish vandals except for a fort known as “Intramoros. ” On the 10th of December 1898 AC, the “Treaty of Paris” was agreed upon by America and Spain by which the latter had to cede the Philippines to the former. What is quite puzzling is that, inspite of the fact that Spain was not able to subjugate the Moros, she included the Moroland in the deal. The Philippines Annexation of the Moroland

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For more than three centuries the Spanish attempted to subjugate or to exterminate the Moro Muslims, followed by the forty seven years of the Americans’ attempt, which were all in vain. The political approach of the Americans seemed effective in winning over the response of the Moro Sultans and Datus to come to agreement, whose conditions included the non-interface of the Americans in the local affairs of the Moro Sultans and Datus. On this basis, the “Kiram-Bates” Treaty was signed on the 2nd August 1899. Similar deals were made with the Sultan of Maguindanao.

On the 2nd March 1904, President Roosevelt of America, without moral and ethical considerations, unilaterally declared the treaty null and void. On the granting of independence to the Philippines by America in the year 1946, there was a strong objection by the Moros to the inclusion of the Moroland but neither the Americans nor the christianised Filipinos had listened to them, knowing that the Philippines is an American agent in the region. The existence of American military bases in the country is an obvious reflection of this fact.

This is not surprising as the Moroland is very rich of natural resources and mines, not to mention the fertility of its soil. The Moro Jihad at Present The Moro Jihad has been in three phases: First Phase: the Moro Jihad against the Spanish invasion (1521-1898) 377 years. Second Phase: the Moro Jihad against the American colonisers (1898 – 1946) 47 years. Third Phase: the Moro Jihad against the Philippine crusade (1970 – present). Since the granting of the Philippines Independence in the year 1946, the Manila government launched “settlement programs” for the Christians from Luzon and Visayas in the Moroland.

Prior to that the Moro Muslims had been enjoying the administration of the region by themselves as the Provincial governors, the Municipal mayors and the Barangay captains were among themselves. The Christian settlers, with the assistance of the Manila government, started to take over the strategic politic and socio-economic posts soon after their influx into the Moroland. The Question of Genocide Obviously, the motive of the Manila government behind the influx of the Christian settlers into the Moroland is not a mere settlement but to carry out its genocide campaign against the Muslims.

This has been reflected by the organisation of the Christian militia (armed) movement known as “illegal” to strike terror against the unarmed Moro civilians, especially among the rural areas. A large series of massacres and arsons were carried out. The Moro civilians leaving their homes and farms were compelled to seek refuge in the urban areas dominated by Muslims. These are the chances taken by the Christian terrorists to take over farms and lands vacated by the Moro refugees. The Moro Youth Responded

The genocide campaign of the Manila government had reached an alarming point. So the Moro youth and students, both domestic and abroad, especially those who were studying in Arab and Islamic countries led by Salamat Hashim had no choice but to organize the “Moro National Liberation Front,” to face the challenge. While the “Front” was still at the stage of organization, a conflict between Misauri and one of the then Cairo graduates (a doctor) broke out as both expressed aspirations to the chairmanship of the “Front. Sheikh Salamat Hashim, who was the leader of the whole group did not insist to the chairmanship to avoid further dispute and eventual failure. So Misauri became the chairman of the “Front. ” After a few years of the start of the struggle Misauri’s inefficiency had unveiled itself and most, if not all, of the field commanders signed a petition that Misauri should step down and give way for Salamat Hashim to assume the chairmanship, but Misauri cunningly insisted to stay and Salamat Hashim has to lead the “front” in accordance with the choice of the majority.

In order to avoid confusion, the members of the Central Committee had decided to replace the word “National” with the word “Islamic” so the true “Liberation Front” aiming at the re-establishment of a sovereign Moro Islamic State was given the title “Moro Islamic Liberation Front. ” The Military Strength of the MILF 120,000 men (six divisions) regular Islamic Armed Forces of which more than 80% are well armed; 300,000 militiamen and even more. The Demand of the MILF

The demand (objective) of the “Moro Islamic Liberation Front” is precisely no less than Independent (sovereign) Moro Islamic State Why Economic Underdevelopment? The Moroland is rich of natural resources and mines, aside from the fertility of its soil, yet quite behind in economic development because of being neglected by the Manila government. Since annexation of the Moroland by the Philippines, a vast amount of Pesos is being generated by the crusade Philippine government out of the Moro wealth on the account of the Moros themselves.

Unless the would-be Moro sovereigIslamic State is established, no real economic development is expected. Q & A on the Muslim rebellion in Philippine with Professor Thomas McKenna In light of recent events in the Philippines, AsiaSource spoke with Professor Thomas McKenna, author of Muslim Rulers and Rebels: Everyday Politics and Armed Separatism in the Southern Philippines (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998).

Professor McKenna discusses the historical roots of Muslim separatism in the Philippines, the impact of both Spanish and American colonialism on Muslim identity, the implications of the peace agreement in 1996 which resulted in the creation of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and the distinction between the three principal groups representing Muslim grievances in the Philippines today. Professor McKenna’s book is also available for sale through Barnes and Noble.

The South of the Philippines, where the minority Muslim population is concentrated, managed to evade Spanish colonialism for 300 years. Could you please explain the significance of this, if any, for Muslim-Christian relations in the post-colonial context? Because of their evasion of Spanish colonialism, Philippine Muslims comprise the largest category of unhispanicized inhabitants of the Philippines. Although they live in the only predominately Christian country in Southeast Asia, they share their religious culture with the neighboring majority Muslim nations of Indonesia and Malaysia.

They also retain aspects of an indigenous pre-Islamic and precolonial Philippine culture–expressed in dress, music, political traditions and a variety of folk beliefs and practices– that are similar to those found elsewhere in island Southeast Asia, but are today almost entirely absent among Christian Filipinos. Thus, while Philippine Christians and Muslims inhabit the same state and are linked together by various attachments, they are separated by a significant cultural gulf as the result of historical circumstances. I argue in my book that cultural differences do not by themselves create ethnic conflict.

However, Christian Filipinos, including representatives of the Philippine state, have often tended to view Philippine Muslims as socially backward and untrustworthy precisely because of their history of resistance to hispanicization. For their part, Philippine Muslims have tended to be highly suspicious of the intentions of the Philippine government and generally wary of Christian Filipinos. These prejudices and suspicions notwithstanding, Muslims and Christians have been able to coexist peacefully in the Southern Philippines for most of the time they have lived together.

You suggest in your book, Muslim Rulers and Rebels, that the Muslim nationalist movement emerged out of the period of American colonialism (1899-1946), and not Spanish colonialism, and in fact, that the American colonial authorities actively encouraged its development. Could you please elaborate on this? I state in my book that American colonial authorities encouraged the development of a transcendent ethnoreligious identity among Philippine Muslims. That unified identity then formed the basis of the nationalist “Bangsamoro” identity of the Muslim separatist movement begun in the late 1960s.

Philippine Muslim armed resistance to Spanish aggression was very real and obviously effective, but it was not a unified Islamic resistance in the sense sometimes imagined. As elsewhere in Southeast Asia, sultanates just as often fought with one another, sometimes forging temporary alliances with the Spaniards to do so. Nevertheless, the ability of southern sultanates individually to withstand Spanish hegemony for more than 300 years is a testament to their military and diplomatic prowess. As tated in my book, certain perceptive American colonial agents realized that the “Moros” were not unified and thought it would be a good thing to unite them under leaders the Americans regarded as “enlightened” (i. e. , Westernized). American colonial intentions were complex, but a primary intention seems to have been to prepare Philippine Muslims for the eventual end of American colonialism and their inclusion in an independent Philippine republic as a consolidated and relatively progressive ethnic minority. It was a naive intention, and events, of course, didn’t work out that way.

But colonial practices did have the effect of encouraging the development of a unified Philippine Muslim (or Bangsamoro) identity. Not incidentally, American colonialism also provided a lingua franca–English– for contemporary Muslim separatists. Philippine Muslims are linguistically diverse and, as is the case with Christian Filipinos, English has provided a neutral political language. You also mention that the Muslim nationalist movement in the Philippines describes itself as both Islamic and anti-colonial.

Could you explain how this self-conception emerged and whether it is shared by the different factions of the separatist movement today? The Muslim nationalist movement is anticolonial in the same sense as any other nationalist movement in Southeast Asia, including Philippine nationalism. The difference is that Muslim separatists see Spanish and American colonialism in the Muslim Philippines as having been supplanted by colonial rule from Manila under the Philippine republic. The “Islamic” aspect is far more complicated, primarily because there are differing interpretations of what it means to be Islamic.

The Muslim separatist movement is a self-consciously Islamic movement in the sense that its political fronts, to various degrees, envision that a Philippine Muslim nation (or autonomous region) will be influenced by an Islamic model of governance. To my knowledge neither the MNLF nor the MILF has articulated a detailed plan for governing an autonomous region or independent nation based on an Islamic model. There is no clear model from the history of the Muslim Philippines. None of the Philippine sultanates complied at all closely to Quranic (shariah) law in their legal codes.

I have suggested in my book that statements by the leadership of the MNLF and the MILF about the “Islamic” nature of their movement should be interpreted quite generally to refer to the defense of Philippine Muslim territory and traditions, as a response to Philippine Christian chauvinism, and as a desire to strengthen social and political connections between Philippine Muslims and the Islamic world. What Abu Sayyaf means by “Islamic” is difficult for observers (or at least this observer) to ascertain.

In your book you argue that the remote causes of Muslim separatism in the Philippines may be traced to Western colonizers but the more proximate cause can be found in the policies of the post-1946, Christian-dominated Philippine state. Can you outline some of the policies and practices that may have either exacerbated or created antagonisms between the Muslim minority and the Christian majority? Until the 1950s, Muslims formed the majority population of almost every region of the southern Philippines.

Soon after the founding of the republic in 1946, the Philippine government began to sponsor large scale migration from the poor and politically troublesome regions of the north and central parts of the country to the agricultural frontiers of the lightly populated southern islands. The large, fertile, and underpopulated island of Mindanao became the primary destination for Christian migration to the southern Philippines and by the late 1960s Mindanao Muslims found themselves a relatively impoverished minority in their own homeland.

While the scale of Christian immigration to Mindanao itself caused inevitable dislocations, the manner of its occurrence also produced glaring disparities between Christian settlers and Muslim farmers. From 1946 onward, the government provided steadily more opportunities and assistance to settlers from the North. By contrast, government services available to Muslims were not only meager compared to those obtained by immigrant Christians but were also fewer than they had received under the colonial regime.

The new Christian communities became linked to trade centers and to one another by networks of roads while Muslim communities remained relatively isolated. The late 1960s also saw an unusually antagonistic stance toward Muslims on the part of the new national administration of Ferdinand Marcos. Could you briefly explain the distinctions between the three principal groups representing Muslim grievances in the present-day Philippines: the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and Abu Sayyaf?

The MNLF, founded and led by Nur Misuari, is the original underground polimed encounters with government troops shortly after the 1996 Agreement was signed, the MILF signed a ceasefire agreement with the government in 1997 and entered into peace talks. Negotiations proceeded slowly and were interrupted by occasional skirmishes. Since late 1999, however, fighting has intensified and in early 2000 the MILF withdrew from peace talks.

At this moment, (June 2000) fighting between the MILF and government troops is more intense and widespread than at any time since the signing of the Tripoli Agreement and threatens to erupt into a resumption of war. What international factors have contributed to the conflict between Muslim separatists and the Philippine State? Muammar Kadaffi has been involved in various ways, some of them quite positive in terms of seeking a settlement. The original 1976 peace agreement was signed in Libya. Libya has also sheltered and supported MNLF fighters at various times.

So have Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. I think, however that the most substantive and positive contribution has comeand the MILF have condemned the acmed encounters with government troops shortly after the 1996 Agreement was signed, the MILF signed a ceasefire agreement with the government in 1997 and entered into peace talks. Negotiations proceeded slowly and were interrupted by occasional skirmishes. Since late 1999, however, fighting has intensified and in early 2000 the MILF withdrew from peace talks.

At this moment, (June 2000) fighting between the MILF and government troops is more intense and widespread than at any time since the signing of the Tripoli Agreement and threatens to erupt into a resumption of war. What international factors have contributed to the conflict between Muslim separatists and the Philippine State? Muammar Kadaffi has been involved in various ways, some of them quite positive in terms of seeking a settlement. The original 1976 peace agreement was signed in Libya. Libya has also sheltered and supported MNLF fighters at various times.

So have Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. I think, however that the most substantive and positive contribution has come that the Autonomous Region imed encounters with government troops shortly after the 1996 Agreement was signed, the MILF signed a ceasefire agreement with the government in 1997 and entered into peace talks. Negotiations proceeded slowly and were interrupted by occasional skirmishes. Since late 1999, however, fighting has intensified and in early 2000 the MILF withdrew from peace talks.

At this moment, (June 2000) fighting between the MILF and government troops is more intense and widespread than at any time since the signing of the Tripoli Agreement and threatens to erupt into a resumption of war. What international factors have contributed to the conflict between Muslim separatists and the Philippine State? Muammar Kadaffi has been involved in various ways, some of them quite positive in terms of seeking a settlement. The original 1976 peace agreement was signed in Libya. Libya has also sheltered and supported MNLF fighters at various times.

So have Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. I think, however that the most substantive and positive contribution has comeinally scheduled to begin in Septemed encounters with government troops shortly after the 1996 Agreement was signed, the MILF signed a ceasefire agreement with the government in 1997 and entered into peace talks. Negotiations proceeded slowly and were interrupted by occasional skirmishes. Since late 1999, however, fighting has intensified and in early 2000 the MILF withdrew from peace talks.

At this moment, (June 2000) fighting between the MILF and government troops is more intense and widespread than at any time since the signing of the Tripoli Agreement and threatens to erupt into a resumption of war. What international factors have contributed to the conflict between Muslim separatists and the Philippine State? Muammar Kadaffi has been involved in various ways, some of them quite positive in terms of seeking a settlement. The original 1976 peace agreement was signed in Libya. Libya has also sheltered and supported MNLF fighters at various times.

So have Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. I think, however that the most substantive and positive contribution has comewas ignored. After some initial armed encounters with government troops shortly after the 1996 Agreement was signed, the MILF signed a ceasefire agreement with the government in 1997 and entered into peace talks. Negotiations proceeded slowly and were interrupted by occasional skirmishes. Since late 1999, however, fighting has intensified and in early 2000 the MILF withdrew from peace talks.

At this moment, (June 2000) fighting between the MILF and government troops is more intense and widespread than at any time since the signing of the Tripoli Agreement and threatens to erupt into a resumption of war. What international factors have contributed to the conflict between Muslim separatists and the Philippine State? Muammar Kadaffi has been involved in various ways, some of them quite positive in terms of seeking a settlement. The original 1976 peace agreement was signed in Libya. Libya has also sheltered and supported MNLF fighters at various times. So have Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

I think, however that the most substantive and positive contribution has come from the Organization of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (OIC for short), a very influential international body made up of foreign ministers of Muslim states. The OIC publicized the grievances of the separatists very early on. It pressured the Philippine government to negotiate with the MNLF and threatened a reduction of oil supplies to Manila. It arranged the first peace agreement and has been very active in facilitating negotiations and arranging agreements, including the most recent, ever since. Interview conducted by Nermeen Shaikh of AsiaSource

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