Senator Sam Brownback, a member of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was more honest than Filipino officials when he said that the Philippines is to be the “next Afghanistan.”
Hundreds of thousands of Bangsamoro Muslims from all walks of life came onto the streets of the major cities of Mindanao on October 23 and 24, in rallies and demonstrations to demand the separation of their homeland from the Republic of the Philippines.
The struggle of the Malay Bangsamoro people began almost 500 years ago, when Spain invaded the three independent Muslim principalities - the Sultanates of Sulu and Maguindanao, and the Confederated Sultanates of Ranao - which governed mainland Mindanao and the islands of Basilan, Sulu and Palawan. Mindanao and these islands today constitute what is known as the ‘southern Philippines.’ Islam had been here for some 200 years before the Spanish arrived.
Crescent International interviewed Ustadz Salamat Hashim, Chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Amirul Mujahideen and Imam of the Bangsamoro People, at his main base at Camp Abu Bakre As-Siddiq, Central Mindanao, last month.