You know it’s the religion of peace when its followers declare war against the government of the country in which they live. The Philippines’ own pseudo-jihad group Moro National Liberation Front (not to be confused with MILF, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front), a group which claims to not be entirely Islamic but cannot provide evidence of that, attempted to raise the Front’s flag in Zamboanga City. The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) claims to be an “egalitarian movement,” but since its membership is (almost?) entirely Muslim, it’s unlikely that’s their actual attitude since Islam and equality are antithetical. The movement’s goal is to establish a separate state in the southern Philippines, were Islamic jihad violence against the Philippine government has been escalating over the past several years.
Nur Misuari, the leader of the MNLF, became governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which is becoming increasingly hostile to non-Muslims. This is the separate state that the MNLF is fighting for – an Islamic state. Misuari had attempted to declate Zamboanga City’s independence from the Philippine government in August, but the act had gone widely ignored because it seemed like typical crazy Muslim theatrics.
Enter Habier Malik, a commander of the MNLF who truly demonstrated to the world that Islam is a religion of peace and compassion. On September 8, 2013, late at night, troops led by Habier Malik approached Zamboanga city under cover of darkness and shot two civilians and one military officer. As more and more MNLF troops poured into the city, the stage was being set for violent conflict. After the Muslim invaders killed four civilians, they took numerous groups of others hostage (Malik’s forces targeted Christians to be hostages), and the city was basically forced to shut down. The national military moved in, surrounding the city. They knew the MNLF Muslims had taken hostages, so a full-scale assault was ruled out.
What was the religion of peace’s next move? To shoot rockets at the military, of course. They also set up snipers in preparation for the inevitable gunfights that happened over the next few days. The city was virtually on lockdown at this point, surrounded by the military as well as hidden MNLF snipers. Malik took orders directly from Misuari, who had claimed to have distanced himself from the conflict. Malik and Misuari could not agree to a ceasefire, so military personnel moved in. By this point, over 110,000 civilians had been displaced by the conflict, with many managing to flee the city during battles. Even as government forces captured key MNLF locations and arrested numerous commanders, Malik staunchly stated that he would not surrender and that he and his militants were “ready to die for [their] cause.”
Only 20 MNLF militants remained in Zamboanga as of September 27. Malik was one of them. As the military spilled into the city, the remaining MNLF members in the city scattered and began using more guerrilla tactics. It is unknown if Malik was killed during one of these guerrilla assaults. He has not been seen or heard from in two days.