Global development and human (in)security: understanding the rise of the Rajah Solaiman Movement and Balik Islam in the Philippines
Borer, Douglas A.
Everton, Sean F.
Nayve, Moises M., Jr.
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Over the past 30 years rapid advances in the realm of digital technology and the establishment of an ever expanding globally networked communications infrastructure have radically altered the infrastructure of the global economy. Combined with new rules for international finance, the deregulation of capital and labour markets and the embracing of a ‘free trade’ ethos by most states in the international system, today’s ‘information age’ bears little resemblance to the economic world experienced by previous generations. Rapid economic changes have been accompanied by the broad dissemination of social, cultural and political information to all corners of the globe, a phenomenon that has contributed to a number of important socio-political developments. Using social movement theory to frame our analytical narrative, we investigate how the demands and pressures of globalisation have helped to foment ‘Balik Islam’, a religious-based social movement concentrated among the ranks of returned overseas Filipino workers in the northern island of Luzon. These workers, having converted from Catholicism to Islam while employed in the Middle East, are beginning to reshape the political fabric of the Republic of the Philippines, sometimes in a violent fashion. To illustrate the possible extremes of Balik Islam, the article will chart the rise and fall of the Rajah Solaiman Movement, a Balik-Islam group that was responsible for a number of recent terrorist attacks, and whose members, thanks to their ability to blend in with the dominant population, pose a special challenge to democracy.
The article of record as published may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01436590802622615
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