The Bangsa Moro: Fighting for Freedom During the War on Terror: The Muslim Independence Movement of the Southern Philippines

East, Bob (2005) The Bangsa Moro: Fighting for Freedom During the War on Terror: The Muslim Independence Movement of the Southern Philippines. In Social Change in the 21st Century Conference, 28 October 2005, QUT, Brisbane.


Bangsa Moro is the generic name for the 13 ethnolinguistic Muslim tribes in the Philippines which constitute a quarter of the population in Mindanao,(and the southern archipelago islands of Tawi-Tawi, Sulu and Basilan, all in all approximately 4.5 million Muslims) In 1905 Dr. Najeeb M Saleeby wrote in a book Studies in Moro History, Law, and Religion, 'the Moros are a law-abiding people, provided, however, they feel that the government that rules them is their own. They do not regard the present government as their own’. One hundred years on, the same sentiments persists with the majority of Bangsa Moro people of the Southern Philippines. Prior to the original Spanish landing in the Philippines by the Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan in 1521, the population, consisting of Muslims and animistic tribes people, lived in a symbiotic relationship. However this was to change with the introduction of Christianity by Spain. As a result of the Christian imposition, war and hostilities occurred. The start of hostilities began with the first Muslim Filipino/Spaniard clash near Cebu in 1569. When the United States of America acquired the Philippines in 1898, following the Treaty of Paris, the Muslim population in the Philippines had in all but Mindanao, and a few islands in the Philippine archipelago, been either eliminated or converted to Christianity. The resolve of the Muslim Bangsa Moro, for self-determination 3 or independence has survived to this date, despite the impact of Spanish colonization, American imperialism, Japanese invasion, and Philippine industrialization. The Bangsa Moro of the Southern Philippines would, if allowed, live according to Sharia law. This in itself promotes a conflict of interest, because Philippine law has as its authority the Philippine Constitution, and 'the Philippine Constitution still hovers above the Koran’ (Vitag & Gloria 2000). There is no government policy which clearly discriminates against Muslims in Mindanao, however policies are formulated in response to popular demand, and since the majority of the population are Christians, 'policies can be biased in favour of the majority' (Lingga 2004).

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ID Code: 3494
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Bangsa Moro, Muslim, Christian, Philippines, independence
ISBN: 1741071089
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Race and Ethnic Relations (160803)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Centre for Social Change Research
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > QUT Carseldine - Humanities & Human Services
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2005 Bob East
Deposited On: 08 Feb 2006 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:30

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