While prayers are said all over the world for those affected by the terrorist attack earlier this week in Manchester, England — people in the Philippines are dealing with their own Islamic State-inspired crisis.
“One of the top trending topics in the aftermath of the [Manchester] attack focused on events on the other side of the world,” the BBC reported. “More than 1.3 million tweets used the hashtag ‘Pray For Marawi’ — a city of 200,000 on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines — where Muslim separatists and other rebels are fighting the Filipino army.”
“The ISIS footprints are everywhere.”
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“According to the Filipino government, militants belonging to the Maute Group and the Abu Sayyaf Group — two local groups that have pledged support to so-called Islamic State (IS) — swarmed the streets of Marawi on Tuesday,” the BBC explained.
The country is under attack by extremists.
Islamic insurgents “torched buildings, seized more than a dozen Catholic hostages and raised the black flag of IS,” the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported on May 25.
The insurgents killed at least 21 people and wounded 31, according to reports.
“Army tanks packed with soldiers rolled into Marawi on Thursday,” the Australian Broadcasting Corporation noted.
Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, declared martial law to cover Marawi and the wider island of Mindanao.
“We are in a state of emergency,” Duterte said Wednesday. “I have a serious problem in Mindanao, and the ISIS footprints are everywhere.”
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The president said the declaration may be expanded throughout the entire country.
“If I think that the ISIS has already taken foothold also in Luzon and terrorism is not really far behind. I might declare martial law throughout the country to protect the people,” Duterte said at a news conference in Manila on Wednesday.
President Donald Trump has condemned the activity of radical Islamic extremists while on a nine-day tour throughout the Middle East and Europe. Trump called for a moment of silence — for the victims and families of the Manchester suicide bombing — while speaking at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on Thursday.
At the same moment, hearts around the world cry out for the people of the Philippines.
“As details of the attack in Marawi emerged, fears mounted that the largest Roman Catholic state in Asia could join a growing list of countries grappling with the spread of influence from ISIS in Syria and Iraq,” the British daily newspaper The Guardian reported.