Christians in one Filipino territory continue to suffer from Islamic extremists, bishop says
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- According to one Filipino bishop, a cycle of terrorism and kidnapping continues to plague the lives of Christians in a group of islands in the southern Philippines. The island of Jolo, located in the historically Muslim region of Mindanao, made international headlines in 2000 when the radical separatist group Abu Sayyaf kidnapped foreign tourists from the nearby Malaysian island resort of Sipadan. But, according to the bishop, the plight of Jolo’s tiny minority has been mostly forgotten.

Speaking to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) recently, Bishop Angelito Lampon of Jolo said that Christians in his vicariate were being caught in the crossfire of terrorist activity. According to the prelate, militia men and criminal gangs are preying on Christians as an easy target for extortion and kidnapping for ransom – motivated by money more than politics or religion.

“The Christians have no guns and no protection,” explained Bishop Lampon. “Police in the southern provinces, where some areas already have a degree of autonomous local government, are reluctant to act for fear of retribution.”

“Law and order had collapsed,” said Bishop Lampon, adding, “How would one confront a syndicate when they have more people and guns than you? If you try, they will get you and your family. So better turn a blind eye – it’s the safest way to stay alive. And even if a case is filed in court – which is rare – there is no judge to handle the case. Even Muslim judges do not want to be assigned in Jolo.”

According to the bishop, even priests and religious have not escaped the terrorism.  He said that in the last 15 years many sisters and clergy have been kidnapped or murdered.

Lampon’s house is currently under the protection of seven marine guards and several more are on duty 24 hours a day at Jolo’s Cathedral.

“Abu Sayyyaf’s violence stirs up prejudice and suspicion,” said the bishop. “No doubt the majority of civilian Muslims do not want trouble. They are tired of this constant conflict. The few who do these negative things somehow cast doubt on the many who are peace-loving. There are lots of efforts being exerted to bring about peace, but people are getting sceptical about the result because of the periodic and constant blemish of wanton killing, extortion, and kidnapping.”

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Pope Francis in the Philippines: Manila Welcomes the Pope
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Highlights
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Interview with Cardinal Ranjith
Pope Francis in SriLanka: Inter-religious Faith Meeting
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day

Liturgical Calendar

January 25, 2015

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mk 1:14-20


Daily Readings

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mk 1:14-20