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Philippine rebels endorse 'fatwa' against Estrada

Muslim separatist rebels declare ex-leader Joseph Estrada an enemy of Islam. -AFP

Sat, Mar 20, 2010

MANILA: Muslim separatist rebels on Saturday declared deposed ex-leader Joseph Estrada an enemy of Islam and called on Philippine voters to reject his bid to become president again.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) endorsed a "fatwa" or religious edict by a group of Muslim scholars in Mindanao island, the heartland of the large Islamic minority, ahead of the May elections.

"After studying the actions and policies of Mr Estrada before and after his election as president until this present time, we found out that he is really an enemy of Islam," MILF quoted the Bangsamoro Supreme Council of Ulama as saying.

Ex-movie star Estrada, who publicly opposes peace talks, is polling in third place in the opinion polls, nine years after he was ousted in a bloodless military coup that followed his impeachment for corruption.

"The rightly-guided ulama, as true guardians of the Islamic faith ... have all the right to issue a fatwa against those who, by their actions, have proved to be inimical to Islam, our Moro nation, and the right of self-determination of our people," the MILF said on its website.

The fatwa said his military campaign caused widespread destruction, desecrated holy sites, and displaced a million Filipino Muslims.

"He has publicly announced that once elected as president, his priority is to make war against the MILF, which is currently holding peace talks with government, again," it added.

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