Zamboanga city (Agenzia Fides) - "The ideological influence of Islam on young Filipino Muslims is not to be underestimated, but the majority of Muslims in Mindanao do not support the Caliphate, does not want violence. And the Muslims of Marawi are the first victims of ISIS": this is the analysis released to Fides by Fr. Angel Calvo, Spanish Claretian missionary, for 40 years in Mindanao, southern Philippines, engaged in Zamboanga in the "Interreligious Solidarity Movement for Peace", which promotes peaceful education and coexistence programs between Christian and Muslim communities. This morning, a group of 300 militants from the "Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters" jihadist group attacked the village of Malagakit, in the province of North Cotabato, breaking into a school, and took hostages.
There is a climate of insecurity in Mindanao. Fr. Angel Calvo explains to Fides: "Terrorist action in Marawi and now the attack in North Cotabato have been a surprise: in fact, they are territories controlled by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. But the survival from 26 years of terrorist groups such as Abu Sayyaf is significant. Today, the rebirth of radical ideology, thanks to the Islamic State, can influence young people and reopen the widespread violence in Mindanao, also thanks to the propaganda that is being done in some madrasas. The Maute group, which occupied Marawi, joined Abu Sayyaf and other foreign fighters trained abroad. In addition, the network has the support of narcotraffickers who provide funding and weapons". The situation is rather complex, the missionary notes, recalling old and new claims: "Some young jihadists in Marawi, said they were ready to die fighting. It is difficult for the army to solve such a situation. Then we do not know what the psychological impact this affair will have on people and we will have to rebuild Marawi, now in ruins. One thing can be said with certainty: Muslims are the first victims of jihadists, as well as Christians. There is no religious war between Christians and Muslims in Mindanao, but only a common desire to build peace and coexistence". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 21/6/2017)