Islam in the Philippines

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  • Topic: Philippines, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Moro Islamic Liberation Front
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  • Published : August 21, 2010
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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;

the 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 and 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

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...
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