Philippines: Islamic State Branch Urges Attack on Miss Universe Contest

AP Photo
AP Photo/John Locher

Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) terrorists in the Philippines are planning to target the 2017 Miss Universe pageant that is scheduled to be held in their country, The Foreign Desk reports, citing a secret jihadi social media channel.

The SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi websites, confirmed that an ISIS-linked channel on the encrypted messaging app Telegram “posted an explosive belt manufacturing video and a timed hand grenade manual, and suggested to ‘create bomb for miss universe,’ referring to the beauty pageant to be held in the Philippines in January 2017.”

Agence France-Presse (AFP) learned from Filipino tourism officials that the Philippines considers the threat to be “serious.”

Dionardo Carlos, a spokesman for the Philippine national police, indicated that “the threat would be referred to an intelligence group assigned to the pageant,” notes AFP.

Referring to the Islamic State, which is also known as IS, The Foreign Desk reports:

In a thread posted to a Telegram Messenger group called “IS Philippines supporters,” a jihadi, noting next year’s pageant, encourages “everyone who can” to launch attacks at the event.

Addressing “brothers who love martyrdom,” the author inspires followers to target the blood of foreigners whose nations have participated in the war against ISIS.

ISIS has been urging its followers to launch lone wolf-style attacks in their native countries if they are unable to travel to the jihadi group’s so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

According to The Foreign Desk:

The [Telegram Messenger] post [by ISIS-linked Filipinos] offers a downloadable video on how to assemble a suicide belt, as well as a 49-page guide in English on how to manufacture explosives.

Jihadis are advised where to obtain explosive material, and they are instructed to plan ahead and purchase material now to avoid arousing suspicion closer to the pageant date.

Potential recruits, both men and women, are encouraged to use Telegram’s secret chat functionality to coordinate attacks.

ISIS has reportedly been gaining strength in the Southeast Asian region.

Abu Sayyaf, the most prominent jihadi group in the largely Christian Philippines, has pledged allegiance to ISIS. The group is known for kidnappings, beheadings, bombings, and extortion rackets.

Other Filipino terrorist groups known to operate in the Southeast Asian region have also pledged their loyalty to ISIS — including the Abu Dujana brigade, the Abi Khabib brigade, the Jund Allah brigade, and Abi Sadr.

In an ISIS-linked beheading video published in June, a Malaysian calling himself Abu Oun al-Malysi says, according to Vocativ:

For those who cannot move to the land of Syria, join the Mujahideen [jihadis] in the Philippines. If you cannot do that, send your sons to the land of jihad in the Philippines. And if you cannot send your sons, then send your money to support the Mujahideen.

The Philippine military, backed by the United States, has been combating Abu Sayyaf for more than a decade, notes Al Jazeera.