The ISIS cancer is slowly metastasizing into Southeast Asia, but you wouldn’t know it from the lack of big three network coverage. While last week’s terrorism in the Philippines got a total of one mention from ABC’s Good Morning America, the Manchester bombing was mentioned in twenty different network broadcasts.
The Philippines is a predominantly Catholic nation, but on the island of Mindanao, radical Islam has gained an alarming foothold. Last week, in Marawi, terrorists from the ISIS-affiliated Maute group launched a surprise attack, setting fires to churches and other buildings, capturing hostages and sparring with the Filipino military.
Since ISIS flags began billowing over the city on May 23, one third of Marawi’s 200,000 inhabitants have fled and more than 100 are dead.
Despite the enormity of the ongoing violence, NBC and CBS broadcast shows have not once mentioned the attacks. ABC’s May 25 segment of Good Morning America did touch on the situation, but spent only 15 seconds covering it.
This meager coverage stands in stark contrast with twenty stories from all three networks discussing the May 22 Manchester bombing.
Even while one CNN video questions whether the Philippines is the “next ISIS stronghold,” the big three network shows are ignoring the gravity of the Filipino situation.
And the situation is grave indeed.
In a video released by Maute, Catholic priest Teresito Suganob, currently being held captive alongside a hundred or more victims, begged Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte for help.
As the Filipino military has now initiated air strikes, the hostages are pawns in a power struggle, caught in an increasingly precarious situation.
Other Marawi residents, asked to recite Muslim prayers, were found dead after witnesses told CNN Philippines that they failed the test.
According to several reports, the violence erupted after the Filipino military cornered Isnilon Hapilon, a terrorist dubbed by ISIS as its Southeast Asian emir. Hapilon is thought to have issued an emergency call for support to the Maute terrorists, according to CNN reporter James Griffiths.
The situation in Marawi is a sobering reminder that ISIS has its sights set on a region far broader than the Middle East. A global caliphate is the ultimate goal.
Last year, Allard reported, Syria-based Southeast Asian ISIS fighters urged sympathizers to launch assaults in their own communities, rather than traveling to the Middle East.
Besides Marawi, radical Islamic terrorist attacks have claimed lives in Davao, Philippines, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Jakarta, Indonesia.