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Christian Communities Cautious on Philippines Peace Deal (UPDATED)

Agreement hopes to end disputes between Filipino government and Muslim separatists.

Editor's note: This article has been corrected to reflect that shari'ah law will not apply to Christians living in Bangsamoro.)

A major turning point in tense Muslim-Christian relations in the southern Philippines may be at hand following a recent announcement from President Benigno S. Aquino III.

Aquino recently announced that the Southeast Asian archipelago's national government has signed a peace accord with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a major Muslim separatist group. For many years, separatist rebels have been fighting a violent war for independence for the Muslim-dominated island of Mindanao.

Now, the recent agreement will establish an area called Bangsamoro, which will still be subject to the Philippine constitution but will be governed by shari'ah law rather than the nation's Civil Code. However, shari'ah will not apply to Christians and other non-Muslims living in the area.

The agreement to create an autonomous, Muslim region has been welcomed by religious leaders, including ...

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