Guest / Limited Access /

"Basilan Island will become another Bosnia," predicts Catholic Bishop Jose Maria Querexeta. He says the only hope is for quick, large-scale intervention by government troops. The area in the south Philippines has known warring between Muslims and Christians since the fourteenth century. Once again, it is accelerating.

In June, Muslim extremists stopped a bus, separated the Christians from the Muslims, then demanded $800 apiece to spare Christian lives. When none could produce the money, 15 male passengers were slain.

In July, extremists kidnapped a Catholic priest originally from Illinois, who was celebrating Sunday Mass. They also shot the priest, Clarence Bertelsman, who has worked in the Philippines for 43 years. He later was released and is in good condition. Experts say a Libyan-trained Muslim named Abu Sayyaf is responsible for fomenting the holy war in the southern Philippines.

Jun Vencer, based in Quezon city as international director of World Evangelical Fellowship, which represents 10,000 Filipino churches, believes the government is doing a good job in trying to contain the violence perpetuated by a few armed groups. Filipino marines have begun scouring the countryside with orders to capture Abu Sayyaf. "The government is determined that this will not be a holy war," Vencer says. "The danger is that Christians who take it upon themselves to fight back may cause an escalation."

Some Christian organizations have responded by avenging the deaths. They are believed to be behind the murders of three Muslims.

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Recommended
'Machine Gun Preacher' Under Heavy Fire
Sam Childers, subject of a new movie, is accused of neglecting children at his orphanage in South Sudan.
TrendingPope Francis Learns What Rick Warren, Russell Moore, N. T. Wright Think about Marriage
Pope Francis Learns What Rick Warren, Russell Moore, N. T. Wright Think about Marriage
(UPDATED) Warren turns Vatican conference into 'revivalist meeting,' while Moore explains why marriage crosses theological boundaries.
Editor's PickOur Bodies Were Made for You, O Lord
Our Bodies Were Made for You, O Lord
We've been designed, right down to the DNA, to love and serve our maker.
Comments
Christianity Today
Christians Suffer Renewed Attacks
hide thisSeptember 12 September 12

In the Magazine

September 12, 1994

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.