by Perseus Echemenada
Published in philstar.com
MANILA, Philippines - Sunni Muslim preachers are espousing the radical belief of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to gain followers in the Philippines for the extremist group, an official of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) said yesterday.
MNLF spokesman Emmanuel Fontanilla said reports from field commanders said some imams or Muslim preachers are floating the Islamic extremist belief but the MNLF leadership is opposed to the idea.
“The MNLF will pursue its political objective peacefully. We are against violence,” he said.
A source earlier said a group is reportedly coordinating with militant Muslims in Mindanao to set up a “third force” to pursue an Islamic State of Mindanao (ISM) patterned after ISIS.
The source said advocates of the ISIS are meeting with various groups including hardcore members of the MNLF, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) to join the ISM.
“The leaders want to set up a middle force that espouses setting up an Islamic state,” he said.
The source expressed doubts that the group would get MNLF support.
For its part, the MILF has forged a peace agreement with the government. The BIFF is also pursuing its own version of an Islamic state in Mindanao.
Former President Fidel Ramos earlier said some militants had left the country for Syria where they are undergoing military training under the ISIS.