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Murad Ebrahim: 'Islam as a means to progress'

The leader of the MILF in Mindanao discusses the long and rocky road to peace in the Southern Philippines.

Last Modified: 05 Apr 2013 16:01
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After 40 years of fighting and 15 years of negotiations the Philippines government is expected to sign a final agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in just a few weeks, creating a semi-autonomous state in Mindanao called Bangsamoro.

"We will continue to advocate Islam as a way of life, as an instrument of change and as a means to progress .... We do not intend to let them accept Islam as a way of life, but then we are going to prove to them that Islam is not anti Christians or anti non-Muslims, but it is an all-embracing religion that can live with Christians, that can live with other religions."

- Murad Ebrahim, the leader of the MILF in Mindanao

This possible deal is a landmark event not just for the Philippines but beyond - with many believing there are lessons to learn on how to deal with armed insurgents.

Also on how to deal with the human sacrifice involved as hundreds of thousands of people were killed during the conflict.
But there are concerns about the final peace deal.
 
There is a split between MILF and the other Islamic insurgency group MNLF, so will they be working together now in the new state? Do they want to? And what kind of society will take hold here? A pure Islamic state? What will happen to Christians living here?

There is also the current conflict in the Malaysian state of Sabah and some say Islamic fighters from Mindanao are involved here, potentially jeopardising the final peace deal which is being brokered by the Malaysian government.
 
Talk to Al Jazeera decided to seek out the man who is now leading negotiations on behalf of the fighters. We speak to Murad Ebrahim, the chairman of the MILF in Mindanao, about the MILF's achievements and the challenges facing Mindanao.

Talk to Al Jazeera can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0430; Sunday: 0830, 1930; and Monday: 1430.

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Al Jazeera
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