AS IF TO DEPICT THEIR HATRED for a major religion of the West- which is Christian Catholicism, the Muslim fundamentalist-terrorists, through two married young suicide bombers, exploded two bombs inside the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and one in the parking area in the middle of a Sunday Holy Mass on January 27.
Killed were 21 and 120 injured -both civilians and military men who responded to the first bomb only to be blasted head-on by the second bomb. As of this writing, cannons and mortars were heard pounding suspected Sulu lairs of the ISIS, who claimed authorship of the bloody Sunday Carnage.
Identified triggermen were members of the “Ajang” Group, made up of the second generation Abu Sayyafs- more ruthless, daring and fanatical. Many of their sub-leaders had died in past clashes with the military- the biggest being Isnilon Hapilon killed in 2017.
This bloody incident has not been the first and certainly will not be last in war-torn Jolo, capital of Sulu. People describe it as largely an ungovernable enclave ruled by gangs in connivance with local politicians.
Murder for ransom, political assassination, theft of property and smuggling are rampant activities in Jolo- which is ruled by guns and not the law. It is a bastion that the MILF cannot penetrate and has reportedly been the area for terrorist training and recruitment.
In 2000, tourists were mass-kidnapped there and later 10 journalists. At least 5 journalists from ABS CBN have been captured there but later released including renowned anchorpersons Ces Orella-Drilon and Maan Macapagal.
Rappler reports that 26 year old photographer journalist (Gene Boyd) of MindaNews was just taking photos of the sunset by the Jolo pier when he was shot dead- a bullet in his head. The Abus reportedly suspected him to be a government agent.
It is of great interest to note that Sulu had just rejected in a plebiscite the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) which has, nonetheless been ratified by over 80% of the concerned population in relevant areas in Mindanao desiring autonomy.
But, mind you, the violence and mayhem of the Jolo cathedral bombing pale against the “burning down of Jolo” on February-7-8 in 1974 when President Ferdinand Marcos with martial law powers – ordered a door-to door, house-to-house cleansing of Jolo after the MNLF attempted to plants its flag of independence there.
After the from-the – air- and-sea bombardment and street fighting – 20,000 Muslims, Christians and Chinese caught in the crossfire died in their ugly deaths. The 20 dead in the Jolo Cathedral, therefore, is a small figure in its bloody red calendar of events. The Bangsamoro people had not yet forgotten the 1974 Jolo Massacre.
They had always believed that the Western Power (chiefly the USA) would use a “colonial vassal” like the Philippines to exterminate the Muslims and their interests in Mindanao.
Few people had realized that for many centuries now- starting from the 7th century to the present – there has been a continuing war between the Islam World and the West (and its allies anywhere).
This facticity has been brought out dramatically in the best-selling book of Samuel Huntington called “The Clash of Civilization”. In that book Huntington remarked that the feared Cold War between the West and Communism was just but a brief interlude in the bigger clash between Islam and the West.
The war has been fueled by religious fervor- in both Christianity (a Western derivative) and Islamism. Both religions spur great passion among followers, believe in Monotheism (only one Supreme Being: God and Allah) and see the conversion of unbelievers as a sacred duty.
In the 15th century, the Christian “Crusaders” mounted missions of conquest carrying the cross across continents until the Turks came to oppose. Europe has always been threatened by Muslim incursions. Advances in navigation, however, allowed countries like Spain and Portugal to spread both the Sword and the Cross across oceans including to our Philippines through Magellan.
By the end of World War I, however, there were only four nations that were considered dominantly under Muslim sway- Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Afghanistan.
However, the West began to decline in influence and the USSR was disintegrated that by 1995, the Muslims had “reconverted” 95 territories under them. Their hold in the Middle East and the Politics of Oil advanced further the cause of Islam in recent history.
The gradual rise of Muslim Power , according to Huntington, was sparked by the massive increase in Muslim population- many driven to poverty and vulnerable to indoctrination to extreme fundamentalism (2) Islam Resurgence that made them believe more in their proud culture and history again and (3) Westoxification of the Muslim World which they resented to the bone.
This resentment has translated into “global terrorism” which showed its might in the “9-11 Towering Inferno” incident. Now, the whole world is reckoning every single day with an insidious enemy called “Terrorism” – out to inflict harm and mayhem on anyone who is “not with us”.
That, ladies and gents, is the root cause of the Jolo Cathedral Carnage.
It is a global “Clash of Civilization” that we might see until the end of time, God forbid. Shalom!
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