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Kato hurting Muslims


A “jihad” at the height of the most holy observance of the feast of Ramadhan? This sounds unthinkable in our understanding of the Islamic Faith, but then the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters of MILF renegade commander Ombra Kato had staged what they claim as holy war to avenge the death of their comrade in the past.

The BIFF waged a simultaneous attack on several military and police outposts in several towns in Maguindanao and North Cotabato sending thousands of Muslim villagers to government-attended evacuation sites. So far they captured two soldiers who were out traveling to Cotabato City in civilian clothes believing that with the Ramadhan season arms are silenced. But they were misled, captured, tortured and mutilated. The incidence signaled the simultaneous attack of army detachments in at least four towns in Maguindanao and two in North Cotabato.

Muslim leaders condemned the assaults while Muslims in the country are observing the Ramadhan fasting season. Ameril Ombra Kato himself is a Saudi-trained cleric.

So far, the most incensed condemnation came from the Vice Chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Vice Chairman for Political Affairs, Ghadhazi Jaafar, who said that “there is no wisdom in the assertion by the BIFF that it is waging a jihad  because the holy war is not meant to give misery to civilians and cannot be waged just for the purpose of retaliation”.  The MILF according to Jaafar had long branded and condemned Kato as “bughaat”, an Arabic term for recalcitrant, stubborn or abusive.

An indignant governor of Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao Mujiv Hataman and Congressman Simeon Datumanong said the attacks are deplorable. They issued the statements amidst the cries and grievance of Muslim evacuees who denounced and demanded that the Bangsa Moro Islamic Freedom Movement and its combatants BIFF be immediately issued a “fatwah” and excommunicate the group for their acts which are contrary to the Islamic faith.

It is unfortunate indeed that the misery of Muslim Filipinos are perpetrated from within and from one who claims to be promoting Islam. The recent developments involving the group of Kato and similar terroristic operations of Abu Sayyaf Guerillas which also banner itself as champion of Islam however argue against these assertion. Not only are their actions un-Islamic it is lacking in political ideology even as they claim to be freedom fighters.

MILF Vice Chaiman Jaafar is correct in every sense. On the other hand we see these atrocities of BIFF on its own communities as a desperate move to derail the peace negotiation between the MILF and the government which we are seeing will soon come into a fruition.

By Menardo Wenceslao

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