Members of a militant group in restive Mindanao who pledged allegiance to the Daesh extremists in the Middle East have warned “ulamas” (Muslim clerics) from participating in the government campaign against terrorism.
This was revealed by Laisa Masuhud, the executive secretary of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), who said the warning came from an email sent by a group calling itself as Dawla Islamiyah (DI).
The warning, Masuhud said, was addressed to the Muslim clerics who participated in the recent Ulama Summit hosted by the ARRMM in Cotabato City where they unanimously approved a resolution supporting the government anti-terrorism drive.
The participants also agreed to work closely with the government, Moro communities and officials as well as other concerned groups in thwarting attempts by Daesh supporters to recruit especially “impressionable” Muslim youths to join their cause.
In the email, the DI urged relatives of the ulamas “to warn your parents, brothers and children against participating in the summit.”
It added: “Because if something happens to them along the way or in the end, don’t tell us you were not warned,” Masuhud said, quoting the warning.
However, Noor Hafizullah Abudullah, the ARMM interior secretary, stressed that the people should not be cowed by the threat and that they should be united and remain calm.
“Good must prevail over evil and we have to unite to protect our communities from the threat,” Adbullah said.
Military intelligence officers confirmed that the DI was adopted as the new name of the Maute Group that has claimed connections with the Daesh extremists and blamed for a series of terror attacks particularly in Lanao del Norte and neighboring areas.
The military said the group was named after Omar Maute, the scion of a rich and influential clan in Mindanao, who founded it shortly after his return to the Philippines from his studies in Egypt where he apparently imbibed the Daesh teachings.
Also joining the DI in pledging allegiance to the Daesh were the Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf terrorists as well as the secessionist Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), according to the military.