A Catholic prelate on Monday told a gathering of the world’s religious leaders that the Abu Sayyaf bandits are “practical atheists.”
Saying that one cannot wage war in the name of God, Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato said the terroristic activities of the violent jihadist group in southern Philippines manifests a “denial of God.”
“Their behavior and actuations deny God,” said Cardinal Quevedo, a known peace advocate.
The first cardinal from Mindanao was speaking before hundreds of religious leaders from different faiths during a panel discussion at the World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi, Italy.
He began his intervention by giving the participants a background about Abu Sayyaf group and its political and religious objective which is to establish an independent Islamic State in Southern Philippines.
Quevedo said the Abu Sayyaf has been on a rampage of killings, assassinations, bombings, kidnappings, extortion, and drug trafficking through the years.
He said the ASG’s activities are done in the name of God and death during acts of terrorism is considered martyrdom.
The prelate said one reason for this is an “inadequate knowledge of the Qur’an,” in the manner that many Christians “do not know the Bible very well.”
He added that another reason is Abu Sayyaf’s “selective knowledge and understanding” of the Holy Book for Muslims that Islam is a religion of peace and not of external jihad against infidels.
“They profess belief in God and are devoted to their prayer but their terroristic and criminal activities in fact say that they reject God and his divine word. Their theistic beliefs are not followed through in practice,” Quevedo said.