The scourge of Islamic terrorism and the threat it poses to Christians is sadly not bound to the Arab world.
On Wednesday, Philippine soldiers were forced to respond as a band of ISIS-inspired Islamic terrorists attacked the southern city of Marawi in an attempt to establish a stronghold. During the fighting, nine Christians were murdered for their faith, and a Catholic priest was taken hostage in addition to 200 other captives including children.
Marawi is located on the Philippine island of Mindanao. 100 people were murdered in total, with an additional 70,000 forced to flee their homes after the attack.
Philippine armed forces responded air strikes, one of which inadvertently resulted in the death of eleven of the country’s soldiers. The botched operation raised questions about the government’s ability to respond to such a crisis.
“The first plane dropped the ordnance accurately, but the second one missed. It hit our troops…there must be some mistake there,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told CNN.
Despite the grave mistake in responding to the event, the Philippine military assures their actions will continue until the threat has been contained.
The group behind the attack referred to itself as Maute, and pledged its loyalty to the Islamic State primarily located in Iraq and Syria. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has been the subject of controversial headlines regarding his own drug war, did not recognize a distinction when he spoke to reporters on Thursday.
Those responsible for the violence in Marawi were “purely ISIS”, he said.
While Duterte appears confident about the ideology espoused by the attackers, his officials note the fighters come from fairly diverse backgrounds.
“There were two from Saudi Arabia, two from Malaysia, two from Indonesia, one from Yemen and one from Chechnya,” Lorenzana explained. “We don’t have any record of them coming through the proper channel, through the airports. There’s only one way, maybe coming from Indonesia or from Malaysia.”
CNN goes on to report that martial law has been instated throughout the entire island of Mindanao, despite the government retaking control of most of the area.
Events like these underscore the dire need for the United States and its allies to remove radical Islam from the face of the Earth.
Seeing as the Philippine government quickly responded to the violence on one of its southern islands, it might not be appropriate for the West to involve itself in the conflict. However, the lesson we should learn here is that ISIS is in no short supply of imitators, meaning such atrocities are likely to continue wherever extremism is allowed to flourish.
To find examples of this, look no further than Western Europe. Once peaceful countries such as France and Sweden are populated by so-called “no-go zones” – pockets of inner-cities dominated by Muslim refugees. These zones are typically left to their own devices by law enforcement. The resulting isolation allows more radical elements of the refugee population to gain a larger voice.
In America, the Trump administration must remain vigilant to ensure similar situations do not present themselves on American soil.
~ 1776 Christian