Along with ethnically cleansing the city of Marawi, ISIS has also taken to the local churches to destroy them. In a video released by the ISIS media company ‘Amaq, ISIS members are shown destroying icons in a Catholic church in Marawi City, toppling and smashing statues and crucifixes, tearing up pictures of the Pope, and setting fire to the church.
NBC (h/t eran) A lakeside city in the southern Philippines has been rocked by violence after ISIS-linked militants took hostages from a Catholic church and defiantly raised black flags synonymous with the terror group.
The clash in Muslim-majority Marawi, where firefighting erupted Tuesday, has led to at least 44 deaths involving militants, soldiers and police, according to the country’s Armed Forces. Some civilians were reportedly being used as human shields, while others, including children, were evacuated with the help of the military.
And yet the world continues to condemn the Philippine president for declaring Martial Law in the Muslim area of Southern Philippines. In response to the surge in Islamic terrorism, President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law across the southern tier of the Philippines and is warning he could expand it to the entire island nation of 100 million.
What happens next is being closely watched for how Duterte — dubbed “The Punisher” for his extreme positions and boasting of personally killing criminals in the nation’s drug war — handles a fraught situation that could potentially destabilize any chance for meaningful peace.
They are known as Abu Sayyaf, armed militants who reside in the southern Philippines — home to a mostly Muslim population compared to the rest of the nation, which is predominantly Catholic.
Duterte has been the target of widespread international condemnation for giving shoot to kill orders to his soldiers whenever Muslim extremists or drug dealers are involved. President Trump has praised Duterte for his efforts to wipe out Islamic terrorism.
Abu Sayyaf, which translates to “bearer of the sword” in Arabic, was previously part of the larger political organization Moro National Liberation Front, which over the decades has held talks with the Philippine government for autonomy for the Moro (Muslim) communities. But Muslim factions want more — they want to secede — and have captured and killed foreigners, including Americans, in their pursuit for full independence.