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Gunmen descrate church in Cotabato

COTABATO (UCAN): Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, from Cotabato, Mindanao, has condemned reported desecration of a Catholic chapel by terrorist gunmen in the southern Philippines on June 21.
The incident, in the village of Malagakit, occurred when about 300 gunmen of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a breakaway faction of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, attacked Pigcawayan, Cotabato, resulting in the displacement of hundreds of residents.
The group has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
Military officials said, however, that the attack was not related to ongoing hostilities in the embattled city of Marawi, some 100 kilometres to the north. 
Reylan Mamon, the Pigcawayan police chief inspector, said that the gunmen destroyed religious images inside the chapel.
“The crucifix and images of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ were destroyed while the sacred hosts were thrown all over the floor,” the police chief said.
Cardinal Quevedo described the desecration of the chapel as “wicked,” adding that, “Such acts are similar to the desecration of a mosque and the sacred Qu’ran by non-Muslims. Both desecrations are gravely sinful.” 
“If the BIFF wants to have an image as a respecter of all religions, it must punish its members who perpetrated the odious desecration and educate all its members in strictly respecting other religions,” the cardinal said.
Mujiv Hataman, the governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, has branded the desecration of sacred sites as “un-Islamic.”
“These terrorists are nothing but hypocrites who undermine the true essence of Islam,” he said.
The attack in Pigcawayan displaced some 1,707 people.

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