Edited by Andrew T.H. Tan
Chapter 11: Separatist Insurgency in the Southern Philippines
* Paul A. Rodell Islamic insurgency has plagued the southern Philippines since the late 1960s and provided a secure base for radical Islamic teachings and terrorists since the early 1990s. However, the fundamental nature and causes of the Philippine Muslim insurgency should not be equated with the radicalism of either al-Qaeda or the Jamaah Islamiah. Rather, the main Philippine insurgency is a domestic phenomenon with deep historical roots, and results from the unsuccessful integration of the Muslim population into the Christian dominated nation-state and society. Throughout most of their history, the Muslim peoples of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago have lived a separate cultural and political existence. That autonomy was largely maintained during the long Spanish colonial period and was only curbed with the advent of American colonial occupation. Under the United States and, then, the independent Philippine Republic, Muslim autonomy came under increasing pressure as Christian Filipinos encroached on Muslim lands and came to dominate much of the region’s political life. The Philippine nation-state’s ideology held that once integrated into the larger whole, Muslims would enjoy an equal share of the national bounty, but this never came to be and the region remained desperately poor. The myth of national integration disintegrated in the late 1960s thanks to two distinct, but related, developments, the ﬁrst of which was the increasing inﬂuence of reform Islam coming from the Middle East that began to transform the region’s previously lax religiosity. More Philippine Muslims participated in the annual hajj to Mecca and received...
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