filipino documentary photographer

Seeds of Insurgency

Photos and story by Martin San Diego

MARAWI, Philippines — “That is the ideal death,” 24-year-old aspiring filmmaker Sakeena* said. For her, to be a freedom fighter — a Mujahideen — is the greatest honor for a Muslim.

In her college freshman year, Sakeena eyed a three-month training with an armed group to prepare for an upcoming Jihad — an Arabic word often associated with war against non-Muslims, but can also pertain to efforts for the betterment of society. She wanted to follow in the footsteps of her father, a member of the separatist group Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), whose story she only knew about through his diary.

Her father, she said, believed that dying in a Jihad as a Mujahideen is the greatest expression of faith. “That’s the only thing that has driven him, for the sake of Allah.”

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