Islamic schools in the Philippines are under investigation for recruiting students to carry out suicide bombings. The Philippines has a long history of radical Islamic terrorism. The southern region of the country has experienced five suicide bombings in the past two years alone.
Islamic terrorists recruit children
In a statement to reporters, General Gilbert Gapay of the AFP said “The Madrasas and other schools in Sulu, we are monitoring them really, where we suspected there is some sort of radicalization activities going on.
We are looking now, coordinating with DepEd, looking into different schools, particularly in Sulu and other parts of Mindanao because it is one of the institutions or areas where recruitment is occurring, particularly in the youth.”
Sulu is a remote province in the southern Philippines that has been a hotbed for radical Islamic terror for decades. The capital island of Jolo is a tropical paradise, but it’s off limits to tourists due to multiple bombings, kidnappings and murders that have occurred over the years.
The United States Travel Advisory warns Americans not to travel to the Sulu Archipelago, including the southern Sulu Sea, due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and kidnapping. Americans are also warned to avoid Marawi City in Mindanao due to terrorism and civil unrest.
Christians under attack
The Abu Sayyef terror group controls large portions of the southern Philippines. The group is an affiliate of ISIS known as the Islamic State East Asia Province. In 2016 the group kidnapped four tourists from a boat off the coast of Mindanao. The terror group demanded $6.5 million USD as ransom but it was not met.
Canadian Robert Hall was beheaded by the group. His head was discovered in a bag outside of a Catholic church on the island of Jolo. Shortly after, a second Canadian in the group met the same fate. A video surfaced of one of the victims being beheaded while kneeling in front of a black Islamic State flag. The remaining victims were never found.
In 2017, Islamic terrorists laid siege to the city of Marawi and battled with Armed Forces of the Philippines for five months, displacing more than 350,000 residents as their neighborhoods were reduced to rubble. In 2019, a bomb ripped through a Catholic church in Jolo killing Christians who gathered to worship.
A short time later, a second bomb was detonated targeting police officers and soldiers responding to the scene. The Islamic terror attack claimed the lives of 20 people and injured at least 81. ISIS claimed responsibility for the bombing.
The Mindanao region has been plagued by Islamic terror for decades. The Philippines is a predominately Roman Catholic country, but the southern region of Mindanao and their Muslim majority have been calling for the creation of a new autonomous region. Clashes between terrorists and government forces has claimed the lives of more than 120,000 people since the 1970s. The battle continues.