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The Philippine island of Mindanao held a referendum on Monday to establish an autonomous region governed by the largely Muslim residents.
More specifically, the prospective Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARRM) would be controlled by a terrorist organization, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
MILF - Insurgency - Government - Decades - People
The MILF has been fighting an insurgency against the Philippine government for decades, killing at least 150,000 people along the way. The autonomous region was proposed during peace negotiations between the Islamist group and the government of the majority-Catholic Philippines.
The MILF seeks to create an Islamic state very much in the “Islamic State” sense; they are Islamic fundamentalists who parted ways with a more secular separatist group long ago. They fought against ISIS in an Islamist power struggle after ISIS recruited their rivals in the Abu Sayyaf organization, winning enough with from the Philippine government to move the autonomy referendum forward. Joining forces with the government against ISIS also helped the MILF subdue or eliminate various splinter groups that favored the Islamic State. The most notorious of those splinter cells, the Maute Group, provoked a crisis by seizing the city of Marawi and holding it for five months in 2017.
Result - Referendum - January - MILF - Victory
The official result of the referendum is not expected until January 26, but the MILF is outspokenly confident of victory and is already reaching out to other Islamist governments like Turkey for support.
A recent survey revealed 76 percent of Muslims across the Philippines believe the MILF is capable of responsibly governing an autonomous region. Turnout for the referendum was heavy and observers expect the autonomy measure to pass with overwhelming approval. If it does, a second referendum is planned for February 6 to invite several surrounding towns and provinces to join the BARRM.
MILF - Brand - Islam - Muslims - Practice
The MILF’s brand of Islam is considerably more strict than what most Philippine Muslims practice, but...
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