03 March 2016
Quiapo is a Muslim town in Metro Manila, Philippines, where thousands of local Muslim families live. The town, which houses the Manila Golden Mosque and Cultural Centre built in 1976, is abuzz with trading, dining and learning Islam. For this reason, according to local Filipino Muslims, Quiapo is their centre of gravity.
But this lively town also harbours elements threatening Philippines’ national security. A stone’s throw away from the Golden Mosque are two shops selling documentary DVDs romanticising Muslims’ victories in wars against foreign forces such as the Libyan-Italian War, the Algerian War, the Soviet-Chechen War and the Soviet-Afghan War. There are also videos on the Bosnian Civil War and Palestinian-Israeli conflict and those that show Sunni-Shia rivalry throughout history.
The most massive collection of all is on the Islamic State (IS). There are more than 60 volumes of uncut raw war footage believed to be downloaded from jihadist websites. The video narration is either in English or in Arabic and other foreign languages with English subtitles, clearly catering to the largely English-speaking Filipino audience.
Similar activity of a smaller scale and intensity can be observed in other parts of the country, such as Marawi City and Cotabato in Mindanao. Towns with high concentration of Muslim population and rural areas with no access to Internet service are also targeted.
… Muhammad Saiful Alam Shah Sudiman is an associate research fellow with the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, a constituent unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
ICPVTR / Online / Print
Last updated on 03/03/2016