Catholic Bishops in the Philippines vow to counter ISIS

Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines vowed on Thursday to counter extremist religions such as the theology of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas, head of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, asked the country’s bishops to collect donations for Christians who have been displaced by the group and whose Churches have been destroyed “by a godless rage with which no genuine religion can ever identify.” Looking at the brutal actions by the Islamic State, including the recent beheading of American journalist James Foley, he said that the Philippine Catholic Church will “do our part … to counter the defacement of religion.”

“Those who kill and slaughter, wound and maim, destroy and burn in the name of God send the world the awful message that religion divides, that faith is oppressive, that belief can engender so much unkindness,” he said in reaction to these events.

Militants belonging to the Abu Sayyaf and another Muslim group in the southern Philippines have expressed their support for the Islamic State.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said that the military is checking unconfirmed reports of Filipinos that may have entered Syria and Iraq to fight alongside the group there.