MANILA, Philippines—A Canadian Islamic preacher detained for being a
security threat in the Philippines has agreed to be deported, an
immigration official said Saturday.
Jamaican-born Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips will be flown back to
Canada as soon as possible, said immigration spokeswoman Elaine Tan.
“He voluntarily requested to be deported,” she told Agence
France-Presse, allowing the government to fly him out without going
through deportation proceedings.
Philips was detained by police in the city of Davao last weekend
while on a lecture tour in the south, where the country’s restive
Islamic minority is based.
“He was blacklisted (due to) information that he may conduct activities that are a threat to our national security,” Tan said.
She said that the government hoped to fly Philips out quickly, but could not yet give a specific date.
In Davao, the regional police spokesman Superintendent Tony
Rivera said they were ordered to hold Philips due to security advisories
from several countries, adding he may have ties to extremist groups and
labelling him as “dangerous”.
In a post on his Facebook page, dated September 10, Philips,
described by police as being 68, said: “I am safe and well-treated in
Davao City immigration custody”.
He also denied the allegations he was involved with extremists,
expressing hope he might eventually be allowed back into the
He conceded that he was blacklisted in the United States,
Britain, Australia and Kenya, but said that this was based partly on
statements that were taken out of context.
Philips was the second Islamic convert preacher to be detained by
the Philippines since July, when it also arrested and later deported
Robert Edward Cerantonio to Australia.
Police said Cerantonio had used the Internet to urge people to
join “jihad” in Iraq and Syria, though they said they had no evidence to
show he had managed to recruit any Filipinos.
Two southern Philippines-based Muslim guerrilla groups, the Abu
Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, have uploaded videos
on the Internet pledging alliance to the Islamic State militants who
have overrun large swathes of the two Middle Eastern countries.
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