Southern Philippines: Terror on Basilan Island

General es 23/07/08


Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | No. 488 | Wed 23 Jul 2008

Basilan Island is the northern-most island in the Southern
Philippines Sulu Archipelago, lying just south of western
Mindanao's Zamboanga Peninsula. Except for its capital city,
Isabela, Basilan is part of the Autonomous Region of Muslim
Mindanao (ARMM). Basilan is also a base of the al-Qaeda-linked
militant Islamic group, Abu Sayyaf, a militarily weak but barbaric
terrorist outfit that funds and sustains its 'jihad' (Islamic 'holy
war') through crime. Previously the Abu Sayyaf garnered income
through kidnapping-for-ransom. However, drug trafficking and
extortion have proved easier and more profitable, so kidnapping is
now used mainly as an instrument of terrorism.

On Friday 18 July, Catholics on Basilan (where virtually all
Christians are Catholic) received letters from 'mujahidins'
(Islamic 'holy warriors') with the ultimatum: 'The Qur'an's
instruction is that if there are Christians living in a place for
Muslims, they have to be converted to Islam. If they don't want to
convert to Islam, they have to pay the jizya. If they refuse to
pay, they can be subjected to violence! We are giving you 15 days
to respond. If we don't get an answer from you, we will consider
you our enemies.' The mujahidins declared their intention to
convert every non-Muslim residing in the province of Basilan -- no
small task as there are some 96,000 Catholics on Basilan.
Christians have been told that there is no point resisting as they
will never be safe because the mujahidins have proved, through
their terror attacks in the heavily secured cities of Davao,
General Santos and Zamboanga City, that they can penetrate
anywhere. The militants' aim is to force many Christians to flee
while extorting 'protection' money from those who don't.

The mujahidins' Islamic ultimatum is based on various Qur'anic
texts, particularly Sura 9:1-5,29, as well as established Islamic
jurisprudence. These assert that People of the Book (Jews and
Christians) living in the 'dar-al-Islam' (land of Islam) must be
given a set time to convert to Islam or submit to the Islamic
subjugation of the Dhimma Pact. The pact includes paying jizya:
tribute or extorted protection money to secure the right to live. A
Jew or Christian who does not convert or submit is to be killed and
his property, including his wife and children, taken as booty. Any
dhimmi (subjugated Jew or Christian) who violates the pact through
non-payment of jizya, blasphemy or any other form of non-compliance
is no longer 'protected' from jihad. This practice is being revived
throughout the Islamic world, mostly by vigilantes operating with
tacit sanction under the cover of conflict.

Basilan's Christians are being terrorised but the police and
military are unwilling to take any action, according to Bishop
Martin Jumoad. On Sunday 20 July armed mujahidins stopped a
passenger jeepney at 7.30am on the road between Lamitan City and
Tumahubong. They took only the Christians hostage and left the
'Yakan' (local Muslims). The kidnap victims are reported to be
jeepney driver Ronnie Ando and passengers Vilma Ayson, Wilma
Sumerhido and two children, all parishioners of St Vincent Ferrer
Parish in Sumisip. No ransom demand has yet been received.

PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT:

* the ever-present Holy Spirit will comfort and sustain the
terrorised Christians of Basilan, especially those now held by
Islamic terrorists; may the Almighty God deliver them.

* God will marshal and empower forces to protect his people:
friendly neighbours, local police, Philippine and US military
forces in the area; may he send angels to shield, defend and
rescue his loved ones.

* the Abu Sayyaf and all other Islamic mujahidins and
fundamentalists will be routed -- militarily, logistically and
ideologically -- so that the people of the Southern Philippines
can live in peace with the light, salt and yeast of the Church
in their midst. May God frustrate the ways of the wicked. (Psalm
146:9)

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SUMMARY TO USE IN BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE
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TERROR IN SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES ON BASILAN ISLAND

Christians on Basilan Island -- which is in the Autonomous Region
of Muslim Mindanao, Southern Philippines -- are being terrorised by
Islamic militants, and police are reluctant to intervene. Islamic
'holy warriors' issued an ultimatum on Friday 18 July that all
Christians on Basilan must either convert to Islam, submit to
Islamic subjugation and pay jizya (tribute / protection money), or
face violence. It gives the Christians 15 days before terror is
unleashed. Early Sunday morning 20 July, Islamic militants ambushed
a passenger jeepney and kidnapped the five Christians (including
two children) but left the Muslims. Please pray for the Church in
Muslim Southern Philippines, especially for security for the
Christians of Basilan.

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* WEST PAPUA WATCH -- Another new WEA RLC weekly service, to help
awaken the conscience of the Church and the world to the plight of
the West Papuans. The covert genocide of a Christian people is
monitored through diverse sources. Click on
http://www.ea.org.au/ReligiousLiberty/WestPapua.aspx


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