The Moro Islamic Liberation Front: an Islamic Revivalist

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front: An Islamic Revivalist By: Marjanie Salic Macasalong Introduction: The conflict in Mindanao did not come into being without any root. Like any other conflicts, the case of Mindanao is very much anchored to its history. As a matter of fact, majority of the Moros consider the current Christian-dominated government as a continuation of the colonial domination and exploitation by the foreign powers – Spain and America. Only the names and strategies varied but the effects and consequences to the Moros are very much the same.

To some extent, it became even more systematic and subtle in carrying out the strategies and policies to ensure that the Moros would be pushed aside, if not completely eliminated. Books of different authors unanimously agree that Islam came to the Philippines long before Christianity. Although precise date is not available, some data show that Islam came as early as 10th century. Majul noted that “there is an evidence that Arab ships, or rather, ships captained by Arabs, had reached China from some islands in the Philippines during 10th century”.

However, most writers recorded that Islam became only well established during 13th century. According to Chinese sources dating from the Yuan Dynasty (1280-1368), record of trade activities between China and Sulu were evident. Prior to the coming of Spain in the middle of 16th century, Islam was already established by Muslim traders who married local girls, buried there and expected to have left descendants. At around the same time, Muslims were already active participant in trade, not only in domestic one but also in international trading system.

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Dr. Muslim wrote that Mindanao and Sulu were “the epicenter of two trade routes, one was towards Java and the Moluccas; the other was towards China via Manila, with the Muslim’s fort in Mindoro in Luzon guaranteeing Muslim monopoly in domestic distribution. ” Therefore, it is very clear that the Moro society was sovereign and independent not only from the northern parts of the present Philippines, but also from any other broader political units, as it was recognized even the colonial power that time – Spain, America, France, Britain, and others.

The coming of Spaniards in the islands was dated on 1522 when the Portuguese-born explorer Ferdinand Magellan led a Spanish expedition and reached the so-called ‘Philippines’. Like any other colonial master, the motives behind Spain’s exploration were to spread Faith (Christianity) and to have an access into the field of the so-called ‘spice trade’. However, because Islam had already been established in Mindanao and Sulu region, clashes of the two were inevitable.

America, also a colonial power and far more powerful than Spain, came into the picture with the pretext of spreading civilization although the main agenda was as the same as the Spaniards, as was evident through their policies, to exploit the economy. United States colonial domination began on December 10, 1898 when the Spain ceded the Philippine Islands to the America by the virtue of the Treaty of Paris. What became the main contention, however, was the inclusion of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan to the agreement where in fact the islands had never been under Spain’s control.

The first battle of the Moros against the American forces was the Battle of Bayang in Lanao on May 2, 1902. In this battle, the whole strength of Bayang together the forces of the other neighboring communities fought against the American soldiers. Despite of this unity, out of 600 Moro fighters, around 400 died including the Sultan of Bayang and the Sultan of Pandapatan; while the other side, only 7 American soldiers were killed and 44 wounded in which three of them died eventually.

These high casualties of the defenseless Moros with only bamboos and swords as their forts and weapons against the most sophisticated guns reinforced the general perception that invaders (American government) consider Moro as less human. Aside from this deliberate and conscienceless killing, the American government passed a series of Land Act in order to legalize the land grabbing. One of these was Public Land Act No. 926 of October 7, 1903. In this Act, it clearly stipulates that all lands within Philippine sovereignty were public domain and that the ownership was a ‘state-granted privilege’.

This resulted to “all Moro ancestral landholdings, which had been passed down from generation to generation as pusaka (inherited property), were no longer valid. The government reserved to itself the power to issue titles to public land, possession of which became proof of ownership”. Now, because of this ‘legalized land-grabbing’, the people of Mindanao, appear to have no land and living to their own ancestral land as if ‘squatters’. Prior to 1912 the Moros owned most of the land in Mindanao and Sulu, in 1972 only 30 per cent had land in their name, and it was reduced to 17 per cent only prior to 1982.

On the other hand, however, almost all titles granted under the Land Registration Act for 10 years were for large private holdings, numbering the major plantation to 159 (66 of them owned by Americans; 39 by dominated-Filipino Christians; 27 by Europeans and 27 by Chinese) that comprises more than 100 hectares. Even after the colonial era, the birth of the so-called the Philippines, the systematic and forceful land grabbing continued. In Datu Paglas Maguindanao, thousand hectares of Bangsamoro ancestral domain have been leased to a banana export supplier (La Frutera Inc. to a transnational corporation, United Fruit Corporation. In Lanao del Sur, more than two thousand hectares were evacuated for the Agus II hydroelectric project that also resulted to the ejection of more than 100 families. Furthermore, the use of the Lake Lanao to turn the turbine of the hydroelectric power plants caused radical fluctuation of the water level that eventually resulted to the extinction of several native fishes and species, disrupted the irrigation of their rice paddies, and finally contaminated the water that makes the residents hesitant to use for ablution.

This systematic and forceful way to displace the Muslims from their ancestral land was one of their strategies to uproot the Bangsamoro people from their base resulting to their impoverishment and deprivation of their natural and economic resources. The Spanish and American colonial policies did not stop when they left the country. Rather, all those atrocities and policies continued and even modified to worst after the independence of the Republic of the Philippines through the succeeding government.

Jabidah Massacre was the first carnage that renewed the long ill-fated antagonism. This gruesome massacre that took place on March 17, 1968 was the most notorious incident that gave thrust to the Muslim Moros for the first time to take up arms and fight the neo-colonial and oppressive government. When the merciless killing 64 young Muslim recruits in the Philippine Army by their Christian superiors in the Island of Corregidor, uproars every where were heard, not just the Muslims in Mindanao but Muslims every part of the country including in the Capital. Muslim students and emonstrators in Manila held a week-long vigil in front of the Malacanang Palace, the president’s office, demanding justice for the victims. However, because the operation was a plan and coordinated from the high-ranking officials of the government, as it was evident during the testimony of the lone survivor, the demonstration and demand for justice were in vain. This again highlighted the general assumption that Muslims lives were regarded as nil. Ilonggo Land Grabbing Association or popularly known as ILAGA was the second triggering incidents in Mindanao and far more worst than the Jabidah massacre.

If the Jabidah massacre radicalized the Moro leaders, this ILAGA radicalized the individual Moros. As the name indicates, ILAGA was a militant group that primarily concerned with grabbing land from the Muslims through force and killings. It was a militant group that enjoyed the support of the Christian capitalists, logging magnets and the military government. The said and proven atrocities of this savage group was killing the Muslims civilians, massacring the Muslim villages, loathing properties, burning houses, and even the house of worship (Masjid) became a target of arsons.

Even more horrible, this group did not only kill the Muslims, rather they mutilate the dead body – carving out ears, slashing nipples, plucking out eyes, marking bodies with cross, etc. – thus making them as the most feared group to many Muslims. The atrocities of this group can be clearly manifested at the incident happened in Manili, North Cotabato on June 19, 1971 when 70 Muslims were massacred and seventeen others were wounded inside the Mosque. To have a clear picture of the massacre, it is worth quoting the narration of Dr.

Muslim: While most of the male residents were out working in their farms, a group of about twenty armed ILAGA members entered the village and told the residents who were mostly old men, women, and children to gather at a small mosque for a peace conference. Once they were inside, a grenade was hurled at them, and the armed men began firing and hacking at them. Simultaneously, another group of armed men fired at the houses in the same village. In addition, the few Muslims who were brought to the nearby schoolhouse were also gunned down.

Other more incidents took place somewhere else in Cotabato and even in the area of Lanao. In the Cotabato areas alone, some 358 Muslims were killed, some 56 Muslim houses were burned in Alamanda, some 25 houses in Carmen, some 25 houses in Kidapawan, and some 22 houses in Buldon were also burned. In the incident of Lanao, there were 30 Muslims killed and hundreds of Muslim houses were set ablaze after their properties were loathed. As an implication of these, the Moro leaders and politicians who were always seen as divided, became united in calling for independence of the Moros.

Among the most outraged Moro leaders were Datu Udtog Matalam, the former governor of Cotabato province, who later on announced his MIM – Muslim Independence Movement in which later on renamed as the Mindanao Independence Movement to accommodate the non-Muslim residents in Mindanao; former Senator Ahmad Domocao Alonto of Lanao del Sur who organized the Ansar el Islam; Nur Misuari – a student leader and professor from University of the Philippines – who later on became the chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF); Salamat Hashim, a graduate and student leader from al-Azhar university and the then deputy chairman of Nur Misuar who broke away from the MNLF and later on founded his own Islamic movement – the MILF.

In other words, this incident gave birth to various Moro independence movement and at the same time became the main pretext of Marcos regime to declare Martial Law, the pinnacle of all oppressions, that resulted to the killing of an estimated 60,000 to 80,000 civilians, mostly Muslims, the displacement of around 1 million Muslims and finally the migration of about 200,000 to 300,000 Muslim refugees to Sabah that until now, with the exception of few, have not returned to their different villages. Again, for the Moros, Martial Law was aimed primarily at disarming them to facilitate their conversion to Christianity and dispossession of their properties. MILF and Revivalism Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) started as a breakaway group from the then biggest and largest liberation movement in Mindanao.

However, due to differences of, among others, ideology, Hashim broke away from the group and founded his own liberation movement. In March 1984, after due and exhaustive consultation, the Central Committee of the New-MNLF Leadership, officially declared itself a separate organization called the “Moro Islamic Liberation Front”, emphasizing Islam as the official ideology of the new organization which would guide all its affairs and activities. As Hashim declared publicly, “The ultimate aim of our Jihad is to make supreme the Word of Allah. ” This means, as he elaborated, Muslims must subordinate every aspect of their worldly wishes and desires to the Word of Allah, in the matter of adopting political system, as well as legal, economic, educational and social system.

In other words, making the Word of Allah supreme is the establishment of true Muslim community, the establishment of a genuine Islamic system of government and the application of a real Islamic way of life in all aspects of life. Therefore, it is quite impossible for Hashim to continue supporting Misuari most especially when the later aligned himself with the communists. Hashim was one of the hundred students who were granted to study at Al-Azhar University under the Pan-Islamic of Gamal Abdul Nasser. Spending ten years in Egypt, it is not impossible for him to be influenced by the renowned Muslim revivalists, most notably Hassan al Banna and Syed Qutb.

As a matter of fact, he is known to be profoundly influenced by Qutb’s writing. Moreover, among Hashim’s contemporaries in Al-Azhar were Burhanuddin Rabbani and Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, who later on became the leaders of Afghanistan’s anti-soviet mujahideen. As a founder of the Islamist movement, Hashim is considered by many as not only a revolutionary leader who wanted to liberate the Moros from the yoke of oppression, but also an Islamic revivalist who emphasized, and also manifested through his programs and policies, the importance of Islam as a way of life. For his supporters, Hashim was a reformer that can be compared to the popular reformers in the Muslim world like Omar bin Abdul Aziz, Imam Shafi’e, and Ibn Taimiyyah.

Paramount to his vision, establishment of an Islamic government is one of the requirements in the perfection of the Muslim’s ibadah to Allah as Ibadah is not only limited to the basic tenets of Islam, the 5 pillars of Islam, but also includes the political affairs of man, his business transactions, social relations, education, culture and all other aspects of life. In other words, Islamic government makes sure that justice prevails and all forms of evils will be eradicated. MILF is not only a liberation movement that carries armed-struggle, but also most importantly committed to revive Islam as a whole in Mindanao. In realizing his vision, Hashim outlined four-point programs with the time frame of 50 years. These four points are: Islamization of all aspects of the Bangsamoro people; strengthening and improvement of the organizational and administrative capability; military build-up; and self-reliance. These four-point programs will be discussed in detail in the subsequent pages. Islamization

This idea of Islamization is not directed to the Christians in Mindanao but primarily emphasized to the large Muslim populations who become more and more in numbers but only by name. Muslims in Mindanao, with due respect to others, are now in the trend of becoming more liberal who tend to follow the negative side of modernization and becoming more secular who want to separate religion from the state. Hashim wanted to revive this kind of situation and called on Philippine Muslims to follow Islam more faithfully and reform their lives, their homes and the society. He wanted them to strictly adhere to tawhid (monotheism) and put Allah in the center of their private and public lives. Moreover, he wanted the political leaders to ensure that Islam becomes the foundation basis of any political action or behavior.

As Joseph Chinyong Liow detailed: Hashim proposed that it was through da’wah and jihad that the MILF Islamization agenda, which comprised of the transformation of every Muslim in MILF into ‘a true and real Muslim whose beliefs…and his entire life is in conformity with the teachings of Islam derived from the Qur’an and Sunnah’, of every MILF home into ‘real Islamic homes where the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah prevail’, and of community into ‘a true Islamic one governed by the Sharia’ would be realized. Hashim reiterated the needs of having uncorrupt and God-fearing leaders in order for the community to be Islamized. He wanted to reinstate the practice during the time of the Prophet (saw) where the affairs of the government and practice of the faith are inseparable. As he declared, “practicing Islam without governmental sanction is a truncated version of the faith and, therefore, un-Islamic. A government not founded on Islamic principles (Qur’an and Sunnah) is unquestionably un-Islamic”.

That is why Hashim urged the Bangsamoro people not to limit their ibadah to the performance of the 5 pillars of Islam only. He enjoins to include and be involved in the political affairs and other aspects – social, cultural and economic life in the society. Thus, he asserted that active involvement and support to the Bangsamoro struggle is ibadah or service to Allah (swt). As part of the Islamization program, MILF introduced various activities in order to promote awareness and practice of the true Islamic teachings. These various activities, however, were initially introduced to the MILF members, commanders and elements alike, to serve as a model to the people.

MILF camps, most notably the two biggest camps – Camp Abubakar and Camp Bushra – were the exemplary of the so-called Islamic way of life. Inside Camp Abubakar, observer would feel the difference from the outside community. Islam, to some considerable extent, is categorically practiced inside the Camp. As it is named after the first successor of the Prophet (saw), Camp Abubakar is the MILF center of power and authority, the symbol of belligerency status and of the Islamic rebellion they are waging. Unlike the MNLF that set up purely military camps, the MILF has built an entire community with religious, social, economic, and military structures, with schools, madrasah, mosques, sharia courts, and multi-purpose cooperatives.

Among the most distinguishing Islamization program of the MILF is the foundation of Sharia Court inside the camp. Muslim scholars, Ulama, who had finished their studies in different Muslim world with the degree of Fiqh and Usul al Fiqh were given tasks to handle cases. Sharia lawyers were in-charged to look into the detail of every cases in which the people in the community submit to the MILF instead of going to the government-run courts. Under Philippine laws, the sharia court covers only domestic and family issues but the MILF disregards this and expands the court’s domain to criminal offenses and other offenses as it should be the case in Islam.

Punishments were given based on the committed offences or crimes. Among the punishments were the 100 lashes for fornication between unmarried man and woman, hard labor for those who steal to pay their debts, imprisonment for recidivists, and even executions to murderers in which according to the MILF are all based from the injunctions of the Qur’an and Sunnah. The last reported execution in Camp Abubakar was in 1985, but the most recent one had taken place in one of the MILF controlled-area in 1997. MILF does not confine its ruling into crime-related matters only. In fact, it always makes sure that Islamic way of life should be practiced in every field of life.

Business transactions inside the camp, for example, are regulated by the MILF to make sure that riba and other deceitful transaction will not take place. Smoking is completely prohibited within the premises of the camp. Women are not allowed to be in public not and unless they are dressed decently – clothes covering their private part and veil over their head. More importantly, male-female contact of not immediate relative is strictly prohibited. In case of unavoidable circumstances, like riding motorcycles going up to the muddy part of the Camp where general headquarter is located, women passengers pay children to sit between them and the male drivers.

Camp Abubakar had always been referred by the locals as darussalam because of the fact that social justice and peace and order are felt inside the camp. While these series of punishments and executions obliged the locals to behave accordingly and to follow Islam in their way of life, MILF gained the credit of controlling the area due to the social justice it provides to the people. Drug and gambling operations were also part of the MILF Islamization program. As drug trafficking in the Philippines, most especially in Mindanao, became rampant and drug addiction in the Muslim society had reached a very alarming level, MILF issued a stern warning to all drug pushers and users to stop this satanic vice or else the MILF will be forced to extend the long arm of its Sharia justice system.

Not long after the warning, MILF mobilized its own special team and conducted some operations, including in the cities where drug users and pushers, together with the gambling lord, were said to have been active and operational. As part of the remedy, and also inline within its Islamization program, MILF constructed its own rehabilitation center, both in Camp Abubakar and Camp Bushra, in order for the prisoners to have rehabilitation and orientation classes. There, the MILF takes the opportunity to do its Da’wah among the prisoners. It reminds them the fact that this world is just for temporary and that there is another one that comes which we will stay forever, thus, it is very important to adhere to the teachings, principles and philosophy of Islam.

Furthermore, MILF educates the prisoners about the real and uncorrupted history of the Moros that Islam was the earliest religion established in the Islands, now called the Philippines, and the first political institution, civilization and culture in the area. Moreover, MILF brags about the historical facts that the Bangsamoro Muslims were independent people, having their own system of government and indigenous set of laws long before the rest of the inhabitants in the Philippines had a taste of systematized form of government and social life. This independence, however, was lost due to subsequent plots and machinations of foreign invaders and colonial powers such as the Spaniards and Americans supported by Filipino collaborators. Strengthening the Organization

Unity is one of the basic requirements for any organization in order to achieve victory. As much to the other organizations, Islamic teachings affirm the needs of such unity as Islamic call is not an individual task, rather a collective duty and obligation. History attests that during the time of the Prophet (SAW), priority was given to the matter of strengthening his organization before attempting to take any combat action for he knew the futility of launching a fight by a disorganized group much less by an individual struggle. Emulating the Prophet (saw), Hashim wanted to have a strong organization, capable of enduring all hardships that might come up along the way.

He maintained that organization must be founded on shura (consultation), justice and equality for “justice is the natural consequence of shura and equality is the natural consequence of justice. There will be no equality if there is no justice, and there will be no justice unless the affairs of men are conducted through consultation. ” MILF is not a single ethnic-based organization. It is a mass-based organization that represents the whole Muslims in Mindanao from various ethnic groups. MILF has Central Committee, composed of different sectors, professionals, businessmen, politicians, and youths from different parts of Mindanao, that runs the day-to-day affairs of the organization. Hence, every ethnic group has a representative to the MILF Central Committee, demonstrating its claim of being a mass-based organization.

The MILF is said to have maintained its mass base support from central Mindanao’s 1. 6 million Maguindanaons and 1. 9 million Maranaos from Lanao del sur, and Iranuns from north Cotabato and Basilan. On October 5-7, 1986, there was military consultative assembly that yielded the result of more than one million people from all over Mindanao and 75,574 armed components, including highlanders or Lumads with their bows and arrows. Additionally, on December 3-6, 1996, the Ulama-Professionals Executive Council (UPEC) called for the ‘1st Bangsamoro People’s Consultative Assembly and it was attended by 1,070,697 Bangsamoro coming from all walks of life all over the Bangsamoro homeland. Furthermore, in 2005 MILF general onsultation had managed to gather more than three million supporters, although the media disagreed and instead put into several hundred thousand. Even then, Joseph Liow emphasized that “this was more than the MNLF could ever muster, making the MILF by far the largest and most powerful resistance group operating in southern Philippines today. ” Lastly, another proof of the MILF’s mass appeal can be observed in Taya’s remark: The Armed Forces of the Philippines faces serious difficulty in gathering information from the MILF controlled areas because most of the local population refuse to cooperate with them. The mass support enjoyed by MILF is largely due to its emphasis on Islamic symbols and substance of liberation movement.

Aside from being a mass-based organization, and in order to avoid factionalism, MILF ensures the stability of the organization by dividing the key executive possessions to the two big ethnic groups: Magiundanaon and Maranao. While the chairmanship was given to Hashim, a Maguindanaon, one of the deputies was given to Aleem Mimbantas, also an al-Azhar graduate, who was in-charged of implementing the Qur’an in their own controlled area, gaining the title of ‘religious police’. Military Build-Up As the MILF attests that Islamization and strengthening the organization alone would not be enough to revive and implement Islam in the region, MILF focuses equal attention to its military capabilities, as it is the main mechanism for implementing whatever Islamization policies it wants and to repulse any aggression against Islam.

Additionally, Hashim strictly adheres to the Islamic principles that when a Muslim community is persecuted, oppressed or denied liberty and freedom to perform its obligatory duties to Allah which include conducting Da’wah until the final goal is achieved, then armed struggle is permitted. MILF establishes its own military academy, the Abdulrahman Bedis Memorial Academy, where the new recruits have to undergo series of physical and spiritual training before joining the rank. For the physical training, the trainees have to master obstacle courses, marching drills and even to fire several weapons. On the other hand, series of lectures regarding Islam in general and jihad in particular are also provided to enhance the trainees’ understanding about Islam and jihad.

As Benjie Midtimbang, one of the training directors, was quoted: We are not strict with educational background, only their loyalty to the faith, the cause, and their sincerity. We put more stress on Islamic spiritual training rather than on the physical and mental aspects. Fasting twice a week is optional for the trainees but hour-long midnight prayers are a must. As Hashim justified, spiritual or moral superiority is more important than physical or material strength because of the fact that the former does not depend on the availability of all factors that sustain the physical existence such as food, clothing, air and other material needs. Spiritual strength draws its energy and force from a source invulnerable to physical destruction.

When an army is defeated militarily, it can still rebuild, reorganize and recoil into an even greater attack. But when an army is defeated morally and spiritually, all the material weapons at its command become useless pieces of hardware and it will be permanently subdued by the victor. Simply stated, military defeat is only temporary while moral defeat is final. Since the academy was set up in 1987, the organization claimed to have around 122,000 MILF supporters who went through basic training, and can be mobilized to back up the movement’s 10,000 to 15,000 armed regulars. To make the academy complete, the MILF has managed to have modest arms manufacturing center, which is kept from public view.

A senior MILF official revealed in 1997, and was also attested by the Philippine government later on, that the group has a ‘small’ and ‘modest’ arms factory that could supply M79 grenade launders, pistols, improvised M14 automatic rifles copied from the US Garand rifle, mortars (60mm and 81mm) and even anti-tank weapons. In another sources, like Chalk, it reveals that MILF has huge arsenal of weapons that, aside from the normal AK47, M16, and M14 rifles, includes Russian made RPG-2 rocket propelled grenade launchers, mortars, machineguns and allegedly a US-made Stinger anti-aircraft missile. Self-Reliance As Hashim claims the MILF camps as separate from the Philippines, MILF is involved in security and socio-economic developments for its constituents. As far as financial matter is concern, MILF has not solely been dependent on the monetary help coming from the Arab World as was the MNLF case.

According to the MILF vice-chairman for political affairs, Gazali Jaafar: We have not received funds from foreign countries with preconditions for military activity. We have been receiving contributions from people of the world, some people in Saudi Arabia and Middle East countries, but these moneys are given in sympathy for the Bangsamoro cause with no strings attached. Although some donations are coming from the Arab World, most notably Saudi Arabia, Libya and Iran, MILF tries some other ways to generate money in order to finance its own affairs. The most notable one are the collection of Zakah, Fitrah, Sadaqah, and most importantly is the remittances coming from the Muslim Filipino overseas workers who are members of the United Overseas Bangsamoro.

Reports reveal that MILF collects one million pesos monthly from about 27,000 Muslim overseas contract workers in the Middle East and receives about 1. 5 million pesos a month from sadaqah. Aside from the various revenues that were mentioned above, MILF makes use of the vast land inside its own territory. Camp Abubakar, for instance, as it is about 40 kilometers long, covering several towns from two provinces and spanning about 5,000 hectares, is one to consider for agricultural products. In 1998, a fruit nursery began and was managed by a cooperative of MILF members and supporters with the help of experts from the Central Mindanao Agriculture and Resources Research and Development consortium based in the University of Southern Mindanao.

While a solar-powered water pump helps irrigate the swaths of farmland to cultivate the rice, fruit trees, and vegetables, the other hectare nursery are seedlings of durian, lanzones, mangosteen, and rambutan. Concluding remarks: Some individuals and organizations advocate the idea of only liberating Mindanao without giving importance to the system of government that shall be established when victory is achieved. But for the MILF, it advocates beyond liberating our homeland as it focuses more on establishing Islamic Sharia in the region. MILF is now the known strongest and powerful resistance group in Mindanao because of its emphasis on Islam as the ultimate goal. It became a mass-based organization, having mustered to organize millions of people from all walks of life, because of its social justice program.

As Jubair commented, the more than 1 million people who attended the 1st Bangsamoro People’s Consultative Assembly “was the biggest number of Moros ever assembled at one time and in one place by any group, organization, political party or even by the government, in the entire history of the region. ” In order to facilitate its main goal, the MILF introduced four-point interrelated and interconnected programs. Islamization program is the most important one as it is the backbone of the organization; strengthening the organization is needed in order to avoid internal problem and to stay focus in moving forward; military-build up is a must to make sure that all the Islamization programs will not be hampered and obstructed by any lawless elements and external intrusion; self-reliant, most especially in financial matter, is equally important to facilitate its programs and activities.

As it was mentioned, the MILF wants to establish a parallel government that would cater the needs of the Moro people in which the Manila government tends to ignore or failed to provide. Its camps served as the model of its ideology where, inside of it, Islamic way of life is more or less practiced. It is not just a military barracks but also a community with religious, social, economic, and military structures, with schools, madrasah, mosques, sharia courts, and multi-purpose cooperatives. Therefore, Camp Abubakar is the MILF center of power and authority, the symbol of belligerency status and the Islamic rebellion they are waging. As far as the masses are concerned, there is no doubt that the Moro people lauded the Islamization program introduced by the MILF, most especially the anti-kidnapping and anti-drug trafficking.

In fact, even the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) has cooperated with the MILF task force to curb all the syndicate gangs in Mindanao. The clear manifestation of this is the agreement (Joint Communique) of the MILF and the (GRP) on May 7, 2002, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, committing the both sides to jointly isolate and interdict all criminal syndicates and kidnap-for-ransom groups, including the so-called ‘lost commands’ operating in Mindanao and bind the parties for combined actions against criminal elements in order to pursue and apprehend them. This resulted for the drug users and pushers to be minimized, if not completely eradicated. Furthermore, kidnap-for-ransom gangs were isolated and had nowhere to hide.

Aside from the obvious approval of the people, perhaps, the most significant effect of this revivalism and Islamization programs is the fact that the idea and thought of the Islamization has been revived and planted to every Bangsamoro individuals. Shortly after Salamat’s death, he was quoted in a speech, “In Memory of Salamat Hashim,” delivered before the Muslim Youth Organization by Soliman Santos who wrote the book, The Moro Islamic Challenge: This idea (Islamic state) might be viewed as idealistic but I don’t mind. What is important is that I believe in it and it is my duty to work for it and I have offered myself to die for it. Whether it is acceptable now or not does not matter. Because I believe a well-founded and deeply studied concept will not die. Only the proponents will die.

Salamat Hashim, being a revolutionary and reformist leader, died never realizing his dream, but his jihad and Islamization programs continue, as now apparent in the current leadership of the MILF. BIBLIOGRAPHY Abreu, Lualhati M. (2005). The Bangsamoro ancestral domain: the Bangsamoro continuing past anchored on customary adat and Islamic thinking. In Kamaruzaman Askandar & Ayesah Abubakar (eds. ) The Mindanao conflict. Malaysia: The Southeast Asian Conflict Studies Network Publications. Chalk, Peter. (2001). Separatism and Southeast Asia: the Islamic factor in Southern Thailand, Mindanao and Ache. Studies in conflict and terrorism 24. Pp. 241-269. Che Man, W. K. (1990).

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George, Revolt in Mindanao: The Rise of Islam in Philippine Politics, (Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1980), 57-58. [ 12 ]. W. K. Che Man, 24. [ 13 ]. W. K. Che Man, 25. [ 14 ]. Macapado Abaton Muslim, 62. [ 15 ]. Lualhati M. Abreu, “The Bangsamoro Ancestral Domain: The Bangsamoro Continuing Past Anchored on Customary Adat and Islamic Thinking” in The Mindanao Conflict, edited by Kamaruzaman Askandar and Ayesah Abubakar (Malaysia: The Southeast Asian Conflict Studies Network Publications, 2005), 114-115. [ 16 ]. Dann Fabros, “Lanao del Sur’s Golden Boy: Hussein Pangandaman Makes it to the House by Delivering even without Making Promises”, Free Press, vol. 102, no. 31 (2011): 11-17. [ 17 ]. Salah Jubair, 132. [ 18 ]. Salah Jubair, p. 132. [ 19 ]. Thomas M.

McKenna, Muslim Rulers and Rebels: Everybody Politics and Armed Separatism in the Southern Philippines, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 151-153. [ 20 ]. Cesar Adib Majul, 50. [ 21 ]. Macapado Abaton Muslim, 95. [ 22 ]. Macapado Abaton Muslim, 95-96. [ 23 ]. Macapado Abaton Muslim, 93. [ 24 ]. Ibid. [ 25 ]. Thomas M. McKenna, 156. [ 26 ]. Ministry of Foreign Affairs Manila, “From Secession to Autonomy: Self-Government in Southern Philippines,” 21 September1980, 5. [ 27 ]. Salah Jubair, 156. [ 28 ]. Salamat Hashim, The Bangsamoro Mujahid: His Objectives and Responsibilities, (Mindanao: Bangsamoro Publications, 1985), 4. [ 29 ]. Salamat Hashim, 8-9. [ 30 ]. Marites Danguilan Vitug & Glenda M.

Gloria, Under the Crescent Moon: Rebellion in Mindanao, (Quezon City: Ateneo Center for Social Policy and Public Affairs, 2000), 123. [ 31 ]. International Crisis Group, “Southern Philippines Backgrounder: Terrorism and the Peace Process”, 13 July 2004, 3. [ 32 ]. Col Francisco Cruz Jr. , “Morojihad and the Islamic Vision of Ustadz Salamat Hashim: Understanding MILF’s Politico-Religious Ideology”, Philippine Institute for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, (August 2008): 1. [ 33 ]. Col Francisco Cruz Jr. , 7-8. [ 34 ]. Barakat Halim, The Arab World: Society, Culture and State, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), 119-147. [ 35 ]. Col Francisco Cruz Jr. , 2. [ 36 ].

Joseph Chinyong Liow, “Muslim Resistance in Southern Thaniland and Southern Philippines: Religion, Ideology, and Politics”, East-West Center Washington, Policy Studies 24 (2006): 15. [ 37 ]. Salamat Hashim, 1. [ 38 ]. Lualhati M. Abreu, 110. [ 39 ]. Marites Danguilan Vitug & Glenda M. Gloria, 109. [ 40 ]. Ibid. [ 41 ]. Ibid. [ 42 ]. Marites Danguilan Vitug & Glenda M. Gloria, 107. [ 43 ]. Al Haj Murad, Jihad in Defense of Islam and the Bangsamoro People, (Mindanao: Agency for Youth Affairs – MILF, 2006), 46. [ 44 ]. Salamat Hashim, 18-19. [ 45 ]. Salamat Hashim, 24-25. [ 46 ]. Col Francisco Cruz Jr. , 8. [ 47 ]. Peter Chalk, “Separatism and Southeast Asia: The Islamic Factor in Southern Thailand, Mindanao and Ache”, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, vol. 4 (2001): 241-269. [ 48 ]. Ismael G. Kulat, GRP-MILF peace talks: Its implication to the Bangsamoro Struggle for Right to Self-Determination (Cotabato City: Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society, Inc. , n. d. ), 6. [ 49 ]. Joseph Chinyong Liow, 13. [ 50 ]. Ibid. [ 51 ]. Shamsuddin L. Taya, “The Political Strategies of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front for Self-Determination in the Philippines,” Intellectual Discourse, vol. 15, no. 1 (2007): 66. [ 52 ]. Marites Danguilan Vitug & Glenda M. Gloria, 111-112. [ 53 ]. Salamat Hashim, 12-13. [ 54 ]. Marites Danguilan Vitug & Glenda M. Gloria, 110. [ 55 ]. Salamat Hashim, 41-42. [ 56 ]. Ibid. [ 57 ].

International Crisis Group, 4-5. [ 58 ]. Soliman, M. Santos, Jr. & Paz Verdades M. Santos, Primed and Purposeful: Armed Groups and Human Security Efforts in the Philippines, (Switzerland: Small Arms Survey, 2010), 355-356. [ 59 ]. Peter Chalk, 273. [ 60 ]. Soliman, M. Santos, Jr. & Paz Verdades M. Santos, 349. [ 61 ]. Soliman, M. Santos, Jr. & Paz Verdades M. Santos, 347. [ 62 ]. Col Francisco Cruz Jr. , 10. [ 63 ]. Marites Danguilan Vitug & Glenda M. Gloria, 108. [ 64 ]. Ibid. [ 65 ]. Salah Jubair, 187. [ 66 ]. Salamat Hashim, We Must Win the Struggle, (Mindanao: Camp Abubakar, 2004), 13. [ 67 ]. Col Francisco Cruz, Jr. , 13. [ 68 ]. Shamsuddin L. Taya, 63.

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The Moro Islamic Liberation Front: an Islamic Revivalist
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