Asia

ISIS Flag Flies in Asia’s Most Christian Country

Islamist insurgence in the southern Philippines forces Christians to flee, hide, or die.
ISIS Flag Flies in Asia’s Most Christian Country
Image: Jes Aznar / Getty Images

The violence, instability, and Christian persecution that ISIS has brought to the Middle East is making its way to a besieged island in the Philippines.

More than 100 people have been killed and hundreds more taken hostage in the span of a week on the island of Mindanao, home to a Muslim minority in the majority-Catholic archipelago. Insurgents have targeted Christians and those who cannot prove themselves to be fellow Muslims. Experts believe the Islamic State is poised to create a caliphate in Southeast Asia, including this island in particular.

After the national army launched an air strike last week to flush out fighters hiding on the island, a priest being held hostage by Islamist militants in the city of Marawi appeared in a video, pleading for Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte to “consider” hostages’ lives and stop bombing the city. A spokesman for the army dismissed the video, which was released Tuesday and circulated via social media, as “propaganda.” ...

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December

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