October 13, 2015
JOLO, SULU, PHILIPPINES - Today, more demonstrations by Muslims are erupting all over the southern Philippines. Yesterday, many towns and cities saw demonstrations by the country's Muslim citizens living in the island of Mindanao, calling for Mindanao to be independant of the Pope's religious jurisdiction, and to be placed under the jurisdiction of Caliph Abu-Bakr Sayyid al-Makka, the current Caliph of the Muslim Empire.
Now, demonstrators in the Sulu Archipelago, one of the southernmost parts of the Philippines that not connected to any mainland and is almost entirely Muslim, are staging demonstrations of their own.
In the historical city of Jolo, demonstrators were seen waving Moro flags and Sultanate of Sulu flags, in a defiance against the Roman Catholic Church.
Abusaid Bakri, a tribal chief and demonstration leader said, "We feel the frustration that the Muslims of Mindanao are feeling. We will not follow a Pope, he does not represent us and it's a shame that the Catholic Church has been given control of regions in this country that are predominantly Muslim."
Bakri is a chief leader of a native Sulu ethnic group known as the Tausūg, who constitute roughly 60% of the Sulu Archipelago's population.
While Muslims constitute a minority, roughly 10% of the total Philippine population, the opposite is true for the Sulu Archipelago, where Muslims constitute nearly 90% of the population, with a small 10% following Roman Catholicism. It is these Catholics in Sulu, particularily in Isabela City - which contains Sulu's highest concentration of Christians, they are beginning to feel threatened by the demonstrations.
Miguel Sancho, the Cardinal of Sulu, said that he chose to stay home when he saw the Muslim demonstrations.
"I didn't feel safe, so me and my family stayed home. We Catholics normally don't feel safe in these areas."
Fernando Gutierrez, the current Archbishop of Isabela City shared Sancho's fear. He said, "I hid in my Church, in fact, we heard some loud bangings and rocks being thrown."
John Alberto, head of an Evanglical group known as the Sulu Christian Congregation, says that he didn't show up for services. The group's goals include converting the Sulu natives to Christianity.
Isabela City Police were dispatched to control the crowds, and guard the churches.
It is very possible for the Catholic Commonwealth and the Muslim Empire to share control of an nation. In 2002, Caliph Muhammad ibn Hafiz al-Madina and Pope John Paul II made a historical agreement, where the Caliphate asserted its religious jurisdiction over the Muslims living in the northern parts of Nigeria and the Commonwealth asserted its authority over the Catholics in south. Nigeria became the first country to be equally controlled by both religious entities.
The Philippines isn't the first country in Southeast Asia where protestors vyed for more control under the Caliph. In 2005, Muslim hardliners in Indonesia protested for the country.
Datu Malikuddin Salamat, another Muslim tribal leader said, "We've seen it [shared religious control] happen successfully in Nigeria. If Nigeria can do it, then we can do it here in the southern Philippines too."