By: Vincent Carlo Cuzon
We heard about the Fallen 44. We heard about Marwan. Here is the less known story that the government keeps on ignoring.
There is the plan of the Islamic State, otherwise known as ISIS, to build a new-age Caliphate.
Caliphate – a form of Islamic government that is ruled by a caliph. The caliph is said to be a successor of the prophet Muhammad and the leader of the Muslim community. The last known caliphate existed about 100 years ago in the Ottoman Empire.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), or now known as the Islamic State (IS), is an extremist group trying to revive a caliphate in the Middle East.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who is the self-proclaimed “caliph” of the Islamic State and who holds a PhD in Islamic Studies, continues to receive allegiance to his caliphate from different corners of the globe.
Mindanao has not been spared to the new caliph’s powerful influence. Zulkifli Abdhir, or commonly known as Marwan, and 4 others established the Khalifa Islamiyah Mindanao (KIM), the umbrella organization of Islamic Extremists groups in Mindanao. Such extremist groups include the Abu Sayyaf, the Jemaah Islamiyah, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, the Justice for Islamic Movement and other extremist groups.
The KIM also raises the Black Standard – a black flag patterned to that used by IS. The origin of the black flag traces from Islamic Tradition. The Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium website cites that the KIM was formed in 2013. It was held responsible for bombings in Northern Mindanao in the same year.
How does the caliphate recruit its members?
The social media has been a powerful factor. Through a “bay’ah,” or oath, a subject swears allegiance to the caliph.
On July 23, 2014, a senior Abu Sayyaf leader, Isnilon Hapilon, swore allegiance to Abu Bake al-Baghdadi through a video posted on Youtube. Soon after, different extremist group members also did the same.
An online preacher named Musa Cerantonio, who had been active in getting Muslims in social media to join the jihad, was seen in the Philippine cities including Zamboanga City.
Cerantonio is said to be affiliated with Sheik Abdulwakil Tanjilil who resides in Zamboanga City. Tanjilil has been teaching in Islamic Centers in Mindanao with lectures on the concept of building a caliphate in Southeast Asia.
Although reports had been casted for the existence of the KIM since 2011, the government only recognized the existence of the group in 2013.
The KIM specializes in bombings. The KIM is the suspect of the bus bombing that killed 11 people last year in Maramag, Bukidnon.