08-03-2008, 08:42 AM
I wonder how Track_Snake, eternally concerned with the takeover of Europe by the Muslimists would like to comment the happenings at home? I haven't heared yet of Jihad in the Bavarian Forrest that left 120,000 dead, and displaced twice the population of Munich. And WTF do the Catholes mean by "'The Christian communities are afraid the Muslims would take back their farmland".
Quote:A landmark deal between the Philippine government and the country's biggest Muslim rebel group on a homeland for Muslims was welcomed yesterday, but analysts and residents in the area said more needed to be done. The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said on Wednesday they had hammered out long-standing differences on the ancestral domain of local Muslim communities, allowing for the resumption of peace talks stalled since December 2007.
The deal would expand the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), an area in the south of the mainly Catholic Philippines that was carved out in an agreement with another Muslim rebel group, the Moro National Liberation Front.
The latest agreement, reached during talks in Kuala Lumpur, however does not guarantee the end of a nearly 40-year conflict that has killed 120,000 people and displaced two million on the resource-rich southern island of Mindanao.
While the Manila government and leaders of the MILF were rejoicing over the deal, Christian and Muslim communities in the south said they had mixed feelings. Many expressed concern that details of the agreement were not yet known.
''The Christian communities are afraid the Muslims would take back their farmland,'' said Emmanuel Pinol, vice governor of North Cotabato province, adding that the groups would petition the Supreme Court next week to force Manila to divulge details.
''Our people are getting anxious and apprehensive. We want information on what was agreed upon and what are the areas covered by the Muslim homeland.
''I am afraid there could be chaos and violence if this information is not made available.''
Mr Pinol said some Christian communities were planning to arm themselves to defend property they had acquired from Muslims in the last 50 to 60 years.
Some Muslim rebels were also surprised when they learned a deal had been struck in Kuala Lumpur because they believed the government was reluctant to grant more rights to Muslims and other indigenous people in the south.
''We heard about it, but we're still very cautious because the government is very clever,'' said a guerrilla sub-commander. ''There might be a trap, but it's better than having no agreement at all.''
The two sides have been observing a cease-fire since 2003, although tensions sometimes erupt into fighting.
Analysts said it was premature for both sides to celebrate because the fundamental issues, such as the right of Muslims to self-determination remained unresolved.
''It's definitely a positive development, giving the peace process a big push forward,'' said Benedicto Bacani, executive director of the Institute for Autonomy and Governance at the Notre Dame University.
''But there are still a lot of issues to be resolved. I don't really think a final deal could be sealed under this government.''
Oscar Sampulna, a senior executive of ARMM administration, said the agreement between the government and the MILF would not affect scheduled elections in the region next month.
''I don't see how this agreement on ancestral domain can affect us,'' Mr Sampulna said, adding the ARMM was created by law and only another law could abolish, expand or touch it.
''The Ampatuans are very supportive of the peace process and we will respect any agreements entered into by the government with the rebel groups,'' he said, referring to a pro-government Muslim clan that dominates the ARMM region.
"You know, Paul, Reagan proved that deficits don't matter." Dick Cheney