As the fighting persists in the Philippines, there are rays of hope amidst the chaos. Since Christians are being targeted in these attacks, Muslims are assisting their Christian neighbors to escape the war zone. Muslims are protecting them in gunfire and letting them borrow their hijabs to pose as Muslims to get past the terrorists. It is estimated that there are 300-600 civilians still trapped inside the enemy lines and 100 militants still in the city. However, at this point, it is not clear whether the Islamic State group or the government forces are winning.
06/15/2017 The Philippines (The Gospel World Herald) – In a desperate bid to protect themselves from an ISIS-linked terrorist group, Christians in the war-torn Filipino town of Marawi are borrowing the hijabs of their Muslim friends and disguising themselves, a new report has revealed.
The Daily Mail reports that nearly a month after the Maute extremist group overtook the town, kidnapping and killing Christians and cutting off running water and electricity, residents have taken “extreme measures” to ensure they stay alive.
Zia Alonto Adiong, a local politician managing rescue and relief efforts, told the outlet that in a text message pleading for help, one family said they had “started to eat their blankets”.
While thousands fled the Muslim-majority after Maute overtook it in May, it’s estimated that 300-600 civilians are still trapped or are being used as “human shields” in areas controlled by the terrorist group. Currently, there are believed to be about 100 militants in the city, and the organization’s news agency, Amaq, said its fighters controlled two-thirds of the city.
At least 100 people have escaped on foot, while still others have made it across the river to safety. On Tuesday, five Christians and five police officers braved sniper bullets to run across the town’s commercial district this morning to reach a government-controlled area on the Agus River western bank.
A doctor treating those who make it to safety revealed that Muslim residents are “protecting” Christians by lending them their religious head-coverings.
“Some of the stories that stuck were Muslims helping protect Christian workers by letting them borrow a hijab,” said Dr Gioia Ancheta, head of the psychosocial therapy team.
However, not everyone is so fortunate: when a group of 18 civilians attempted to flee Tuesday morning, “the terrorists ran after them and indiscriminately fired at them, killing five of the civilians and taking the remaining eight as hostages,” says the Mail Online.
Last week, authorities found the bloodied bodies of eight Christian men thrown in a ditch. Their hands were tied, and beside them was a cardboard with the word “munafiq,” which means hypocrite, according to GMA News.