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Outline of history

The islands of Mindanao, Palawan and the Sulu Archipelago - the southernmost regions of the Philippines and those closest to Indonesia - were also some of the poorest and more under-developed parts of the nation before the Twilight War. With a weak infrastructure and extensive poverty, the Twilight War brought drastic change to the relatively industrialized cities, but less to the countryside. Imports of fuel and other materials stopped, and the national government of the Philippines gradually collapsed, but the rural people were largely self-sustaining to start with. In several cities in the region, notably the high-population metropolis of Davao, the situation was considerably worse... as supplies of gasoline and other fuels ran out, transport of essential foodstuffs and other materials into the city halted, and utilities died. For the majority of city residents, it meant a hurried move into the country or to the sea, in search of food. There was considerable loss of life while the situation stabilized, and numerous local governments emerged as the people began picking up the pieces again.

The government of the Philippines was gone, forever as it turned out, and as new cooperative systems evolved one of the most cohesive forces in the region was Islam. This occurred for a number of reasons, including (1) the islands have a multiplicity of languages and ethnic groups, and in many cases the people are unable to communicate except through a second or even third language, (2) the Quran and other Islamic materials can only be transmitted or used in Arabic, under Islamic law, which meant that all Muslims were able to at least speak Arabic, (3) several Islamic separatist groups in the region, which had been fighting as terrorist groups for decades, were almost totally unaffected by the Twilight War, and were prepared with non-electronic communications, extensive networks of people, weapons and materials, (4) after the Twilight War, as with many catastrophes, the people of the Philippines needed somewhere to turn for spiritual assistance. For many, this was Islam.

While there was no move toward island-spanning government for the first few decades, the religion of Islam gradually spread across the region, providing spiritual guidance and material assistance to all. The traditional Islamic virtues of providing for the poor came to the forefront, and the better-off contributed heavily to assist their brothers in recovery, even to those of other faiths (notably Christians). Over a period of decades, the majority of the population of the region embraced Islam, at least superficially if not whole-heartedly.

Mindanao began experiencing raids and naval actions from Pilipinas forces in about 2040, gradually increasing in strength and ferocity until the local governments of Mindanao were also forced to cooperate in defense. As there was no other organization available, this too was coordinated by the increasingly powerful Quranic College, originally a wholly religious body. While the College did not actually assume complete control of Mindanao until 2053, it was in effective control as early as 2044. They were partially successful in halting Pilipinas efforts at conquest, but were doomed to lose to the significantly superior Pilipinas military forces except for the Japanese-imposed peace in 2051. The College welcomed the Japanese proposal, and used the breathing space so provided to build up their self-defense capabilities significantly. To their credit, they did not attack Pilipinas forces during the Japan-Pilipinas conflict between 2052 and 2055.

After peace had been restored, Japanese forces reigned supreme throughout the Philippines, and as the College had no interest in territorial expansion, the two blocs got along very well. With the threat of external invasion removed and the return of stability to the region, however, the College was able to turn its attention toward solidifying its position as the supreme authority. Simultaneously, while studiously avoiding Japanese restrictions in transport of weaponry, the College also began working on local governments in Palawan and the Sulu Archipelago - traditionally hotbeds of Islam - to join.

Francisco Kangleon

Francisco Kangleon was born in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, in 2030 as the son of a fisherman, and was already widely famed - and feared - as a fighter by his 18th birthday. In 2050, he killed the head of the fishing families, until then the single most powerful and respected man in the local society, and proclaimed himself the new head. There was considerable opposition, but as his group of bullies grew and the opposition suffered a variety of accidents, he became largely accepted by the region around Puerto Princesa, and eventually the entire extent of Palawan.

In the early years of his rule (age 18 in 2048 to age 35 in 2065) he worked to accumulate power and wealth, eliminating enemies through primarily direct, usually violent means. From about 2060 to 2065 a major change occurred, however. It was at this time that he met a Muslim named Nur Kiram, a "holy man" from Mindanao. It is not know exactly what transpired between them, but the impact of the Islamic religion as interpreted by this visitor was enormous. Kangleon, in spite of his Filipino background, became a Muslim zealot. A general purge followed, and many of his bullies were replaced by a new breed of zealot, equally intolerant. Kangleon himself was an active Muslim, faithfully praying five times a day: dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and just before sleep. He was extremely careful to observe the traditional values and laws. His women, of whom there were many, were all carefully veiled and protected, for example, and he spent considerable of his tax income on helping the community (not only the poor), constructing mosques and other public works, and eventually establishing a branch of the Quranic College itself in Puerto Princesa, in 2068, dedicated to Islamic scholarship and the study of the Quran.

The increasing power of the College as an extension of Kangleon's will became evident, and religious belief was ranked with an importance equal to that of political support. This was most visible in the Jihad, which began in about 2070 in the form of burnings and lynchings of Christian citizens, and gradually expanded in size and scale until it became an island-wide national movement in 2076, resulting in the death or emigration of essentially all Christians (in fact, all non-Muslim residents, although most of these were Christian) from the region.

The escalation from a rebirth of Islam on Palawan to the active attacks on non-Muslim residents alarmed not only the Japanese peace-keeping forces, along with their new Pilipinas allies, but also the Quranic College on Mindanao which instigated the whole chain of events. The College, to its credit, dispatched numerous missions to speak with Kangleon, in an attempt to dissuade him from his hard-line fundamentalist stance, but to no avail. In fact, he gradually grew unhappy with their continuous interference into his affairs, and in June, 2077 formally severed relations with them, denouncing the Mindanao government and the Quranic College as violating the holy precepts of the Quran. Japanese naval forces increased their presence in the region, making determined efforts to defuse the situation and assist refugees fleeing Palawan. Fortunately, Kangleon had no combat-capable vessels, although a number of missile-equipped fishing boats were present defending his "territorial waters."

The situation stabilized in about 2080 when it became apparent that Kangleon had no interest in expanding to other regions. There were no more refugees fleeing from Palawan, and the Japanese fleet gradually reduced its presence in the area, turning its eyes once again back to watching Indonesia.

Neither the Japanese nor the other nations making up the Philippines were very interested in providing a possibly belligerent, fundamentalist Islamic government in Palawan with technology or arms, although humanitarian air was available had they asked. Kangleon, however, was determined to build up his military capabilities to defend his interpretation of the Islamic nation, and turned to Indonesia for assistance. With a larger Islamic population and an interest in expanding northward, the Indonesia government was extremely interested in closer relations with Palawan.

Indonesian armed forces began making ports of call in Puerto Princesa from 2086, and Indonesian military advisors became relatively common sights throughout the island. Indonesian-supplied weaponry, operated by troops trained on the Indonesian mainland, began replacing the militia-style forces which had operated small fishing boats until then, riding in fast, sleek patrol boats.

Again, the Japanese and the Mindanao government were extremely alarmed, fearing not only a new explosion of fundamentalist violence from Kangleon, but also wary of Indonesian expansion into the Philippines.

The Indonesian presence increased steadily, and in 2091 Kangleon announced his intention to formally join Indonesia. While no details were specified in his official announcement, it was clear that a massive aids package was in the works.

The Japanese fleet blockaded Puerto Princesa while ground forces from Pilipinas were readied for possible action. Japan was determined not to let Indonesia grab a chunk of its Philippine buffer zone, while the other governments of the Philippines, even though they were no longer part of the "Republic o the Philippines" that died in the Twilight War, felt a strong sense of threat at the possible loss of what had once been a brother state.

Indonesian military aircraft began to move to bases on Palawan, and a major convoy of troopships, protected by major naval units and extensive air cover, departed from Jakarta in early February, 2092. Japanese naval units moved to blockade them, and announced their intention to destroy any military vessel moving into the Philippines without authorization. The face-off occurred on February 9, 2092, as the Indonesian commander ordered a single frigate to proceed to Puerto Princesa. As Japanese carrier-based fighters prepared to go head-on against Indonesian aircraft defending the convoy, the Japanese submarine Kuroshio launched a noise-maker torpedo at the frigate. The noise-maker impacted the side of the frigate, making a small dent, while radio messages explained that the other torpedo tubes were filled with live fish.

As the radio exchange was going on between the Japanese blockade and the north-bound Indonesian frigate, a flurry of air-to-air missiles filled the skies. The tense stand-off between opposing air forces had broken (although it proved impossible to determine who had broken it), and within minutes dozen of planes were down in flames. Both Indonesian and Japanese theater commanders ordered their aircraft to break off and pull back, but it took another 3-4 minutes and half a dozen splashed planes until the combat ceased.

The frigate slowed and stopped, apparently at orders from the Indonesian convoy commander, and, after about an hour in position, began to steam back south again, joining the convoy for a return to Indonesian territory. Major Indonesian fleet assets remained in position between Palawan and Indonesia, and Indonesian ASW and air interdiction patrols remained at a stepped-up level for another month, but the crisis was over... Indonesia, faced with a large Japanese fleet already in position and apparently willing to contest their entry into Palawan, elected to withdraw.

The politicians argued about the details for another two years, and finally in 2096 Japan and local Philippine governments entered into a new treaty providing Kangleon with assurance of protection in return for a cessation of hostilities against other nation in the region. Indonesia was allowed normal trading privileges, although it took another decade or so before Indonesian military vessels were allowed to call at Philippines ports.

The treaties of 2096 laid the foundation for the creation of the Federation of Japan and the Philippines, which is the direct predecessor of the current Federation.

Bangsamoro

From around 2910, Shi'a revolutionaries gradually step up attacks against the Mindanao government, with support from Palawan. In 2219, Shi'a W. Mindanao created through revolution. Seeks to join Federation and is put on hold. In 2220, recognized by Indonesia and Iran (89% Shi'a). Ceasefire called for by all sides. In 2226, Bangsamoro recognized by Islamic Republic of Mindanao, Japan, and Pilipinas simultaneously.

Outline of current society and government

With a unique blend of Filipino and Islamic cultures, it is not surprising that the region developed in a unique fashion. Tagalog remains the major language, but Arabic and Japanese are in extensive use as well. All citizens are required to learn Arabic, as the Quran is only taught or read in that language. The religious and ethnic breakdown has changed dramatically, and is currently about 75% Filipino (Islamic) and 25% Christian, although there are large communities of traders and other non-citizen residents.

From about 2070, Islam became effectively the state religion of Mindanao as well. Buddhism is tolerated, Hinduism and Christianity generally viewed as something to be avoided if possible. Religion has become the key controller in national matters: the definitions of right and wrong derive from the Quran (the Koran), the words of God; the Hadith, which are collections of the sayings of Mohammed; and the consensus of Muslims. While the first two have official translations that have existed for centuries, their interpretation is subject to the rule of the College (the Quranic College in Davao, Mindanao is still quite different from the Quranic Collage in Puerto Princessa, Palawan).

Mindanao is run by a religious group (the Quranic Collage in Mindanao), specifically as controlled by the Quranic Council with an extensive bureaucracy.

Palawan is controlled by a military clique which controls the fundamentalist religion of the island. In Palawan the "Protector" constitutes the overall secular ruler, in theory also the religious leader of the nation, supported by the Quranic College. Specific guilds include fishing (controlled by Kangleon personally), pearl-fishing, weapons manufacturing, helicopter manufacturing, semiconductor manufacturing, brewing (includes beer and wine, but not distilled liquors), and dairy products. People wishing to purchase any of these items must pay guild prices, and imports into Palawan of these items may require payment of an "import duty" to the guild rather than the nation.

A (very) brief outline of Islam

The Muslims usually convert or put to the sword any pagans that they conquer, and impose a tax called "jizya" on members of revealed religions, the so-called "People of the Book."

A Muslim's duties as described in the Five Pillars of Islam are:

  1. to recite at least once during their lifetime the shahadah (the creed: "There is no God but God and Mohammed is his Prophet"). Most Muslims repeat it at least daily.
  2. to perform the salat (prayer) 5 times a day. This is recited while orienting one's body towards Mecca. It is done at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, after sunset and just before sleeping.
  3. to donate regularly to charity through zakat, a 2.5% charity tax ("1/40th of their wealth"), and through additional donations to the needy as the individual believer feels moved.
  4. to fast during the month of Ramadan, which cycles through the calendar year using a lunar calendar. This is believed to be the month that Mohammed received the first revelation of the Quran from God. The ninth month of the Islamic year is celebrated as the month of Ramadan. Starting from the full moon at the beginning of the month Muslims are forbidden to eat and drink during the day until the next full moon. The sick and infirm are excused from this requirement, as are people traveling or in similarly inconvenient situations, and, specifically, warriors in combat situations.
  5. if economically and physically able, to make at least one hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca. This applies to both men and women. After making a pilgrimage, the person may put the title hajj (pilgrim) before his name, and receive considerable respect for it.

Common beliefs:

Additional information may be found at the following websites:

Modern Life in Palawan and Mindanao

In spite of the fairly grim image that many surrounding nations have of Mindanao, life within the nation is not at all so. The nation is fundamentally Islamic, and the nature of Islam makes life there quite a bit different from other nations. Islam is a kind of totalitarian system, with control over essentially all aspects of human activity, which is quite a bit different from the conventional separation between church and state in most other nations. However, it has no ordained priesthood, no clerical hierarchy, and no mystic sacraments. It is a practical, lay region, without complicated theology or unattainable ideals.

Polygamy is accepted, with the husband instructed in the Quran to be "equitable," and the Quran also specifically authorizes the use of female slaves as concubines. Slavery is authorized by Islam, but humane treatment is stressed. Whenever a slave can rightfully request freedom, the Muslim master has the duty to grant emancipation. No Muslim may enslave a fellow Muslim, and if a slave becomes a Muslim freeing him is viewed as meritorious but not obligatory.

The Quran orders believers to "Obey God and the messenger and those of you in authority," which led to the creation of the caliphate. The caliph is the successor to Mohammed as the leader, ruler, judge and commander of the army, but specifically not as a prophet (because Mohammed was the last prophet). Since traditional Arabian practice does not use hereditary succession (unless the son is also the best qualified), the slot is filled by "men, sound in body and mind, mature in age, learned in law and region, and capable of defending Islam." The last caliphate before the Collapse was that of the Ottoman Turks, ended in 1924, but Kangleon has declared himself a caliph and the legitimate successor to Mohammed as the leader of the Islamic world, with the approval of his own Quranic College. (The more liberal Quranic College in Mindanao, however, has never accepted his claim.)

Both nations are severe when it comes to criminal punishment. "A life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and for wounds, retaliation." It also states "As for the thief, both male and female, cut off their hands." The College, as the interpreter of the Quran with regards to law, defines new applications for new crimes, but the severity remains unchanged. As new laws become required to meet new circumstances, they are developed through three factors: the personal judgment and sense of justice of the arbiters (ra'y), reasoning to analogy based on the Quran or tradition (qiyas), and consensus of opinion (ijma). This is supported by a saying attributed to Mohammed, "My community shall not agree on an error," which has been taken to mean that practices or beliefs common to the Muslim community are an acceptable part of religion.

Because of the way Islam is practiced, every community center has at least one place of worship, the mosque. This is the main political and social center of the community. Each mosque has a niche (mihrab) on the back wall indicating the position of Mecca, a special chair (the minbar) for the prayer-leader, one or more minarets from which the faithful are called to prayer, and a place for the ritual ablutions required before prayer.

Islamic art is perhaps unique because representations of living things are viewed as infringements on the prerogatives of God. As a result, Islamic art is primarily an art of artisans, not artists. Painting, sculpture, indeed all forms of decoration stress the use of geometric patterns and shapes rather than the pictures of animals, birds, fish and other living things so common in other cultures. In addition, as the words of the Quran are so central to the Muslim society, calligraphy itself has become a high art form, especially when used to present the Quran. In many cases, a rare blend between calligraphy and geometric form is used as sheer decoration.

Islam has always had a strong sense of art within society, and the major cities of Mindanao are no exception. While the central marketplaces are thronged with diverse ethnic groups and a profusion of styles of dress and speech, they are exceedingly clean and attractive. The central mosques are enormous in size and beautifully decorated, presenting an imposing and extremely powerful sight to the viewer. The "Minaret of the Dawn" in Davao, Mindanao, for example, is entirely built of a pinkish marble inlaid with calligraphic characters in gold, and when illuminated by the rays of the rising sun is so beautiful that it alone has been the source of a number of treasured poems. A host of artisans, in the pay of the government, work freely throughout the city, decorating and beautifying the exteriors of all buildings (public and private), and the interiors of all public buildings. Talented artists and artisans (especially calligraphy, all forms of painting, printing and drawing, and architecture) are invited to study at the Academy of the Arts in Mindanao, at the expense of the national government. The government officially welcomes talented artists from other lands, and tourists who wish to view the beauty of the cities, but prospective visitors are warned that unless they are Muslim there may be various problems interacting smoothly within the local society.

Given the Mindanaon strict interpretation of the law, there is little crime in the nation, however, and when it occurs it is treated with extreme vigor by local police. Again, however, remember that the interpretation of crime here seems to apply primarily to preventing victimization of Muslims, not of people of other persuasions. Note that local police are exceedingly efficient, often quite ruthless, and the streets are very safe. Local authorities will make an effort to protect Muslims as well, but the primary emphasis is on preventing crime which disturbs residents (i.e., Muslims), rather than on protecting the life or property of non-Muslim residents or visitors. If there is a difference of opinion between a Muslim and a non-Muslim, while the police and the courts will try to be impartial, the benefit of the doubt is almost always given to the Muslim.

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