Rise of Islamism in the Philippines, a beheaded man and Christians increasingly threatened

Jurgen Kantner, 70, was beheaded in the Philippines by activists from the Islamist group Abu Sayyaf. The video of his execution was broadcast on February 27.

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Jurgen was hostage since November 5, 2016, the day of his abduction. His wife Sabine Werz, 59, had died during the attack. The kidnapping and murder were claimed by Abu Sayyaf, a jihadist group that pledged allegiance to Daesh. As the ransom demand of $ 780 was not honored, activists proceeded to execute Jurgen. On the video, while he is on the ground, a knife blade on his neck, we hear him say, before breaking down in tears:

“Now they're going to kill me.”

Earlier this month, the United Nations revealed the rise of terrorism in South Asia, and links to terrorism in the Middle East. About 100 Filipinos, 100 Malaysians and 500 Indonesians recently joined ISIS in the Middle East. Jeremy Douglas, United Nations regional officer said:

“Daesh has shown great interest in this region. In June 2016, a propaganda video highlighted their efforts to support a regional jihadist wing in the Philippines. ”

Joseph Gyte, counterterrorism expert for UNODC, told the Bangkok Post:

“Now that Daesh's territorial control is waning in the Middle East, the need to disperse, and to move has become a reality.”

He fears that activists currently in the Middle East will soon return with the desire to establish a caliphat.

The Philippines is a predominantly Christian country, however, since 90% of the population is considered Christian, but the repression is growing, to the point that organizations monitoring the persecution, such as World Watch Monitor, monitor these developments in the country. Most of the persecution comes from Muslim religious leaders and mostly affects formerly Muslim people who have converted to Christ. Several reports have shown that new Christians must keep their Christian faith a secret. Encounters with other Christians are very difficult, dangerous and sometimes impossible.

And the tensions spread even in the churches. A pastor agreed to respond to World Watch Monitor :

“The other week I learned that the construction of an Adventist church building was threatened by the Islamists… Forty Islamists went to church one night to threaten the Christians, telling them that if they continued construction, they would burn the church and force them to leave the area. ”

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