ISIS released a video of their members burning a Catholic Church in Marawi, Southern Philippines via their network, Amaq News Agency. In the video, released June 4, the militants thrashed the church interior, stomped on statues of saints, and tore down a crucifix.
There are conflicting reports as to the number of ISIS members present in the Philippines. GMANews reports that in an international security forum in Singapore, Indonesia Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu reported there are 1,200 ISIS members present in the Philippines, 40 of them from Indonesia. Philippine Defense Undersecretary Ricardo David reported only 250 to 400 ISIS fighters present in the country. What is known is that as of June 5, at least 50 ISIS gunmen were present in Marawi and at least 2,000 civilians were still trapped in the city.
Christians continue to be targeted by the militants, but in the midst of this tempest, there is a glimmer of hope with reports of more and more acts of kindness by Muslims towards Christians. In a beautiful display of courage, one Muslim man hid 70 Christians in his home.
Father, there has been much suffering among the Christians in Marawi. Thank You that You bend Your ear to hear the cries of their hearts. Comfort them, Father, and protect them from the hand of the Muslim extremists there who seek to destroy them and Your church. We thank You for the kindness of their Muslim neighbors who have sought to protect them out of compassionate hearts. In the midst of this great spiritual darkness, shine the light of Your truth into stony hearts and raise up a mighty church to praise Your name. In the name of Jesus who rules over the nations and over the hearts of men. Amen.