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Friday, March 28, 2014

Peace Deal Between MILF and Philippines

The  Moro Islamic Liberation Front (with the unfortunate acronym, "MILF"), one of the largest Islamic terror groups in the Philippines has signed a peace agreement:
The pact makes the MILF and the government partners in a plan to form a southern autonomous region for the Philippines’ Muslim minority with locally elected leaders by mid-2016. 
“What is being presented before us now is a path that can lead to a permanent change in Muslim Mindanao,” Aquino said at the ceremony, attended by more than 1,000 people. 
The Bangsamoro region would cover about 10 per cent of territory. The planned region has a majority of Muslims, but there are clusters of other communities.
MILF has been fighting for independent since the 1970's. So why sign a peace treaty now? It has to do with the concept of hudna. From the Middle-East Forum:
To better understand Islam, one must appreciate the thoroughly legalistic nature of the religion. According to sharia (Islamic law) every conceivable human act is categorised as being either forbidden, discouraged, permissible, recommended, or obligatory.

"Common sense" or "universal opinion" has little to do with Islam's notions of right and wrong. Only what Allah (through the Quran) and his prophet Muhammad (through the Hadith) have to say about any given issue matters; and how Islam's greatest theologians and jurists – collectively known as the ulema, literally, "they who know" – have articulated it.

According to sharia, in certain situations, deception – also known as 'taqiyya', based on Quranic terminology, – is not only permitted but sometimes obligatory. For instance, contrary to early Christian history, Muslims who must choose between either recanting Islam or being put to death are not only permitted to lie by pretending to have apostatised, but many jurists have decreed that, according to Quran 4:29, Muslims are obligated to lie in such instances.
This extends to making treaties with an enemy:
This concept is highlighted by the fact that, based on the ten-year treaty of Hudaibiya , ratified between Muhammad and his Quraish opponents in Mecca (628), ten years is theoretically the maximum amount of time Muslims can be at peace with infidels (as indicated earlier by the Encyclopaedia of Islam). Based on Muhammad's example of breaking the treaty after two years, by citing a Quraish infraction, the sole function of the "peace-treaty" (hudna) is to buy weakened Muslims time to regroup for a renewed offensive. Muhammad is quoted in the Hadith saying: "If I take an oath and later find something else better, I do what is better and break my oath (see Sahih Bukhari V7B67N427)." 
This might be what former PLO leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Yasser Arafat meant when, after negotiating a peace treaty criticised by his opponents as conceding too much to Israel, he said in a mosque: "I see this agreement as being no more than the agreement signed between our Prophet Muhammad and the Quraish in Mecca." 
On several occasions Hamas has made it clear that its ultimate aspiration is to see Israel destroyed. Under what context would it want to initiate a "temporary" peace with the Jewish state? When Osama bin Laden offered the US a truce, stressing that "we [Muslims] are a people that Allah has forbidden from double-crossing and lying," what was his ultimate intention? 
Based on the above, these are instances of Muslim extremists feigning openness to the idea of peace simply in order to bide time. 
If Islam must be in a constant state of war with the non-Muslim world – which need not be physical, as radicals among the ulema have classified several non-literal forms of jihad, such as "jihad-of-the-pen" (propaganda), and "money-jihad" (economic) – and if Muslims are permitted to lie and feign loyalty to the infidel to further their war efforts, offers of peace, tolerance or dialogue from extremist Muslim corners are called into question.
Moreover, this isn't the first time MILF has agreed to peace treaties and subsequently resumed fighting. This timeline, although it only runs from 1990 through 1999, chronicles a previous agreement to create a autonomous zone and subsequent "cease-fires" and so forth, that have never held. (See also here). It is also notable that this comes just months after a major loss by MILF forces against government troops in the city of Zamboanga.

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