The Philippines have been the scene of a thirty year war initiated by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front which seeks autonomy in the southern portion of the nation where Muslims constitute a high percentage of the population. The Philippine government recently negotiated a cease fire which would provide greater local autonomy to the Muslim insurgents, but violence emerged when Muslim fighters took possession of land owned by Christian farmers. A Filipino military officer said: “The government had given about 800 Muslim guerrillas until Friday to vacate several villages they had occupied” in violation of the truce agreement. Both sides now claim the other is initiating violence and has broken the truce.
The episode is merely another reminder of how 21st century religious violence continues to escalate in violence. Centuries ago, most Christian sects finally agreed they had to end killing one another. Hopefully, this spirit may capture the mood of 21st century religious leaders who engage in violence in the name of god.