Zamboanga mosque bombing: Sign of a religious war brewing in Mindanao?

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The latest terrorist attack, this time on a mosque in Zamboanga City that reportedly killed two and injured four, already points to a disturbing emerging trend that follows the recent passing of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) granting autonomy to several predominantly Muslim provinces. The attack comes within days of a deadlier attack on a Roman Catholic Church that had killed 27 believed to have been perpetrated by the Abu Sayyaf, an Islamic terrorist group.

The Abu Sayyaf has, for some time been actively involved in Islamic politics in Mindanao. Searches on Google for “Abu Sayyaf” correlate closely with interest in an autonomous Muslim Mindanao of the sort the BOL supposedly achieved.

The fact that the BOL is seen to be largely an initiative spurred by Abu Sayyaf rival group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, in cooperation with the Philippine Government could point to some problematic aspects in the “regional autonomy” granted to Muslim provinces in Mindanao. Muslim Mindanao politics are largely driven by various “Islamic” groups that are rooted in one form of jihad or another and, as such, share a violent common denominator. This is evident in the war-like and revolutionary-themed names of these “movements” and “fronts”.

As such, there is growing reason to believe that a “Bangsamoro Nation” forged in collusion with one of these groups could possibly incite further revolutionary or radicalised fervour in others.

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