World Bulletin / News Desk
Terrorist organizations are targeting youth to bring them into their ranks, the chairman of Philippines' Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said.
Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, who leads what was once the largest Muslim rebel group in the southern Philippines, said young people were being tricked into joining groups such as ISIL.
“They are trying to bring our young people into their ranks," he said. "They are deceiving our youth.”
Ebrahim, who was in Istanbul last week for a two-day international congress of Muslim communities, also criticized radical groups as extensions of terrorist organizations.
“There are radicals in our territory," he said. "There are some terrorist organization’s extensions. They call themselves members of ISIL. They are committing dangerous, ugly murders in the name of Islam.”
MILF, which is based on the southern island of Mindanao, signed a peace deal with the government in March 2014.
The group is widely supported by the public in Mindanao's Muslim-majority areas and has emerged as a bulwark against the spread of extremism and terrorism. MILF recently backed government forces in breaking a siege of Marawi City after it was seized by pro-ISIL terrorists.
The congress, organized by Ankara-based Economic and Social Research Center, discussed problems and opportunities facing the Muslim world as well as the perception of Muslims in the West.
Arif Ali Thottancheri, vice president of India's Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, said Muslim youths have often been considered potential terrorists in India.
"In India, eating cow meat and beef is a crime. Muslim youth can be beaten to death just because they consume beef,” Thottancheri said.
“We see that the situation is not different from other countries, especially those where Muslims are in minority.”
The attack targeted a meeting of ISIL leaders in the eastern Deir Ez Zour province
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