PHILIPPINES: Filipino Radicals Try to Play Nice

Surprise, surprise! The Philippines’ largest Muslim insurgent group, the pro-violence Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), rejected the call from Al-Qaeda to attack US targets over an anti-Islam film that originated in the states. Is this a new extremist morality?

No, just a temporary tactic in the extremist war, it seems.

The film in question of course is the amateur (to put it gently) video that depicts the Prophet Mohammed as a womanizer, ruthless killer, and child molester. While it was largely ignored in the United States, its YouTube trailer was seen around the world and apparently sparked outrage and violent protests in many Muslim countries.

MILF, however, instructing its 12,000 members to observe a ceasefire pact with the government, will as a consequence not attack US targets in the country.

This is a seeming change of heart for the Muslim group, which is largely responsible for the Muslim rebellion that has raged in the Southern Philippines since the early 1970s, leaving over 150,000 dead. In recent years, however, the MILF has dropped its bid for an independent state in the south, and is negotiating a peace pact with Manila to create an autonomous Muslim region.

“We do not live in the dark ages, there are rules and laws that need to be followed,” the MILF’s chief political officer, Ghazali Jaafar, said. “We have an existing ceasefire with the Philippines, and we will not violate that.”

Jaafar called the killing of the US ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three other Americans at the US consulate in Benghazi a “senseless act of violence” and added that the MILF would monitor other Muslim groups in the mainly Catholic Philippines, and “inform government negotiators of any impending terror attacks.”

Is this too good to be true? Only time can tell.

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