OIC Head meets Muslim Leaders of liberation groups in Philippines

2015-04-22 07:04:04 | Al Muslim News
OIC Head meets Muslim Leaders of liberation groups in Philippines


The secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has held face-to-face talks with top Muslim leaders from the two main Moro fronts in the southern Philippines.
The weekend meetings were first time that an OIC Head has met leaders of the country's one-time largest Muslim revolutionary group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and its former ally the Moro National Liberation Front, Anadolu Agency reported.
The visit was to push forward a peace agreement and subsequent autonomous government in restive Muslim Majority Mindanao region.
"I am here to show that we are concerned, we are supportive. I am not here just to prove that I am the first secretary-general [to visit Mindanao], I am here for the substance," MindaNews Online quoted Iyad bin Amin Madani as saying.
On Jan. 25, around 400 commandos descended on Mamasapano township, Maguindanao province, in the country’s Muslim south in search of a terror suspects, only to run into members of the MILF and splinter group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
In the ensuing gunfight, 44 commandos, and at least 17 MILF members and five civilians were killed.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which signed a peace deal a year ago, had said its members fired in self-defence at the commandoes, who passed through a rebel camp while going after Muslim militants.
A month ago, Philippine President Benigno Aquino, called on lawmakers to pass a law endorsing a pact aimed at ending a decades-long Muslim separatist rebellion, warned them they would otherwise start counting “body bagsâ€.
Aquino had wanted the bill, Bangsamoro Basic Law, which would give autonomy to the majority Christian nation’s Muslim minority in the south,
“This is the crossroads we face: we take pains to forge peace today, or we count body bags tomorrow,†Aquino said in a nationwide television address in last month.
Madani had announced after a meeting with the Moro group that the OIC is encouraged by the "sincere desire and the serious effort" displayed by all parties involved in the process.
Before he concluded his four-day visit, Secretary General Madani paid a courtesy call to President Benigno S. Aquino's office in Manila and underscored the support of the OIC's 57-members for the peace process.
The OIC secretary general said he hoped that Bangsamoro Basic Law will draw support not only from Congress but also from the Filipino people, and that the proposed law will open the door to the much-sought peace in Mindanao.
Islam is the oldest recorded monotheistic religion in the Philippines. Islam arrived in the Philippines in the early of 14th century with the arrival of Muslim traders from the Persian Gulf, Indian sub-continent and Arab. The Muslim Philippines is estimated to be in the range of 8% - 11% of the total population.
While the Christianity introduced in Philippines in the late 16th century, with the landing of Ferdinand Magellan in 1521.


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