Friday, July 25, 2008
CONVERT, PAY, OR DIE
A Catholic bishop in the southern Philippines’ Basilan province has received a letter from self-described “Muslim warriors” possibly linked to Abu Sayyaf who are threatening him with harm if he does not convert to Islam or pay “Islamic taxes.” Further, authorities are seeking the return of three adults and two children, all Catholics, who were kidnapped in the same area this week.
The writers of the letter claimed to be “Muslim warriors” who “don't follow any laws other than the Qur'an.” They say the bishop should convert to Islam or pay the Islamic tax, called a “jizya,” to their group in exchange for protecting him “in the place of Muslims.”
If the bishop refuses, the letter threatened, “force, weapons or war may be used” against him. Citing bombings in other Philippines cities, the letter said he should not feel safe even if protected by soldiers.