A Catholic bishop on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao is backing Muslim insurgents in their bid to establish an Islamic state, AKI reported.
Bishop Edwin Dela Pena of Marawi City, a town in the heart of the region dominated by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, said the government should take account of how an Islamic way of life may be lived by Muslims.
"It is about time that we give our brother and sister Muslims their aspirations for Mindanao," he said in a statement posted in the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines' website on Monday.
Dela Pena added that an Islamic state within the Philippines would allow Muslims to move freely in an Islamic environment without any problems for Christians.
"Christians are still covered by the civil law of the land while the Muslims are covered by Sharia law. More so, the Islamic state will also allow the creation of Islamic institutions inspired by the Koran," Dela Pena said.
Christians moved to Muslim Mindanao and given land titles in a government-sponsored programme started by colonial power Spain and later the US.
The same program has also been carried out by most of the Christian-dominated Philippine governments that have held power since formal independence in 1946.
The MILF is the largest Muslim group now advocating for a Bangsamoro – a Moro nation. The group is currently engaged in peace talks with the central government.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Haziran 2008, 16:03