‘Muslim convert group biggest security threat in Metro’
() - September 4, 2005 - 12:00am
A group of converts to Islam with ties to the Jemaah Islamiyah Muslim extremist network, are the biggest "headache" facing Metro Manila, National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales said yesterday.

The Rajah Sulayman Group, made up entirely of Filipino Christians who have converted to Islam, have ties with both the domestic Abu Sayyaf Muslim rebel group and the Jemaah Islamiyah regional Muslim extremist network, Gonzales said.

"They are the biggest headache because they are former Christians. They are from (the main island of) Luzon, from Manila... so they know their way around Manila," he said in an interview on government radio.

He said the group was receiving some funds from the Middle East but did not elaborate.

Gonzales remarked that Abu Sayyaf leader Khaddafy Janjalani, whose group is behind the worst kidnapping and bombing incidents in the Philippines, had boasted that they had trained 80 members of the Rajah Sulayman group.

However Gonzales said he believed the group had only a little more than 20 actual members.

It was not stated what the Rajah Sulayman Group was plotting but Gonzales has previously warned that "terrorists" linked to the Jemaah Islamiyah were planning to stage an attack in metropolitan Manila, the capital of this Southeast Asian nation of 84 million people, in the coming weeks.

The Philippines is Asia’s biggest Roman Catholic nation where just seven percent of the population are Muslims and live mainly in Muslim Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago in the south of the country.

The Abu Sayyaf, based in the southern Philippines, has previously carried out bombing attacks in metropolitan Manila and is listed as a "foreign terrorist organization" by the US State Department. — AFP

ABU SAYYAF ABU SAYYAF MUSLIM FILIPINO CHRISTIANS GONZALES GROUP HOWEVER GONZALES JEMAAH ISLAMIYAH JEMAAH ISLAMIYAH MUSLIM KHADDAFY JANJALANI RAJAH SULAYMAN GROUP
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