Managing the Muslim Minority in the Philippines

Federico V. Magdalena

This paper examines the history of Islam in the Philippines and contemporary developments, with a focus on Philippine state policies and practices with regard to the Muslim Filipinos, including security issues and foreign relations, especially with Islamic countries like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. More specifically, it touches on the following domains: (1) the history of Islamic development and how it changed the course of the Philippine state, (2) the Philippine state’s traditional approach toward Philippine Islam and its adherents, and the mechanisms of religious control throughout history and in the contemporary era, (3) changing attitudes and policies concerning Islam, along with possible departures from traditional approaches of control, as may have been influenced by foreign relations with Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia and Libya, as well as actual or perceived attempts to use such relations as a legitimizing role, (4) Philippine-Saudi relations, and (5) conclusions or implications, along with policy recommendations for strengthening bilateral relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Other possible interventions in the evolution of Philippine state policy toward the Filipino Muslims will also be considered and analyzed. The most significant of these are the changes in actions or perceptions toward the Muslim Filipinos which are taking place as a result of the globalizing process and the increasing demand for democratization and access to a good life.