Philippine Vote on Muslim Self-Rule Puts Christians on Edge
A Muslim-majority region in the Philippines voted on a proposal for greater self-determination, a pivotal attempt at peace that tests the fragile relationship between Muslims and a Roman Catholic minority concerned about creeping Islamic authority.
To most of the four million people in the Muslim areas of the southern island of Mindanao, the vote offers a hopeful end to decades of conflict between armed groups and the government in this overwhelmingly Catholic country of 100 million people. The fighting claimed more than 100,000 lives over the years and extremist groups backed by Islamic State and al Qaeda were able to thrive.
Just outside the city, Murad Ebrahim, the leader of the paramilitary Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which negotiated the surrender of its weapons in exchange for self-rule, cast a vote for the first time in his life.