Fears are mounting in the Philippines that legislation creating a semi-independent Islamic sub-state on part of Mindanao Island will lead to persecution of Christians and other non-Muslims. The Philippine government has been in conflict for decades with Moro rebel groups who want independence on the southern island of Mindanao (Moro is a local word for Muslim).
President Benigno Aquino III proposed the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in September 2014 as part of a peace deal with the rebel groups. This law increases powers of local leaders in the Bangsamoro region of Mindanao, and was approved by a parliamentary Committee on 20th May this year.
The Bangsamoro area has sizeable non-Muslim populations and already enjoys a significant amount of self-government as the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. The new BBL would give Muslim leaders sufficient independent powers to impose sharia (Islamic) law.
Filipino critics are concerned that if Bangsamoro was ruled under sharia, non-Muslims would become second-class citizens, with drastically reduced rights. The law would also make it very difficult for the federal government to redress any human rights abuses.
Whether or not the BBL gets passed into law now lies in the hands of the country’s senators, who are deliberating the bill.
- Pray for the Philippines Government, for wisdom in debating this law and to choose the right path for all people and religions.
- Pray for Christians in the Philippines, especially those in the region of Bangsamoro, to have peace in the midst of uncertainty and faith in the God who loves them.
- Pray for Muslims in the Philippines to have revelations of Jesus and to come to know Him, His life and the truth of the Gospel.
- Pray for peace in the region of Mindanao, where there has been a number of violent attacks by fundamentalist Muslims.
Isaiah 26 vs 3: “Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace— in peace because they trust in you.”