Duterte mocks IS, says he’d rather have ‘virgins’ here, not in heaven
NEW DELHI – President Duterte on Friday denounced the Islamic State (IS) group’s “bankrupt” ideology and mocked Muslim extremists’ belief of eternal life in paradise, saying he would rather “have the virgins here” than in heaven.
Speaking before Indian businessmen before flying back to the Philippines, Mr. Duterte joked that he would also make virgins a “come-on” to foreign investors and visitors to his country.
The IS ideology “is totally bankrupt, totally empty and the only objectives there are to kill and destroy for nothing, for no reason at all,” he said.
“And the come-on is that if you die a martyr, you go to heaven with 42 virgins waiting for you,” he said to laughter from the Indian businessmen.
“Well, if I could just make it a come-on also for those who would like to go to my country,” he added, eliciting more laughter from the mostly male audience.
He said he was “half Muslim”—his grandmother being a Maranao Muslim—so he could talk about the subject and the extremists “do not have the monopoly of discourse in this field.”
He said the extremists promised Muslim men they would be rewarded with “virgins” if they die as martyrs.
Responding to that, Mr. Duterte said: “I’d like to have the virgins here, not in heaven. God may not allow it.”
Some Muslims believe that those who die as martyrs would spend eternity in the company of 72 virgins, not 42 as mentioned by Mr. Duterte.
Investigators of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States found a document from belongings of the airplane hijackers that showed they were motivated by the “promise of paradise” where they would be rewarded with virgins.
The meeting with the Indian business leaders was the President’s last stop in his three-day visit to India, his first foreign trip this year.
In the meeting, the President talked about, among other things, his war on drugs, his disdain for human rights groups, American imperialism and how Indian investments were welcome in his country.
He made no reference to a report on Thursday by a New Delhi-based digital news outfit that he might be targeted by Islamic extremists during India’s Republic Day celebration on Friday.
ThePrint quoted security sources as saying that Mr. Duterte was “on the radar” of the Islamic State (IS) following his government’s effort to wipe out terrorist cells in Marawi City.
IS-inspired fighters laid siege to Marawi for five months last year, prompting the President to impose martial law in the entire Mindanao.
“According to sources, Duuterte’s agenda to militarily wipe out Islamist extremism from the state of Mindanao—along with killing Isnilon Hapilon, leader of Abu Sayyaf and ‘emir of the IS’ in Southeast Asia in the city of Marawi—has provoked the group to mobilize sleeper cells based in Indonesia, which are now planning a strike,” the news website said in a report on Thursday.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Mr. Duterte was not alarmed, but the Presidential Security Group and Indian authorities took precautions to ensure his safety.
“[Mr. Duterte] will not cower to threats from (IS) nor any other terrorist groups. He has pledged to serve the Filipino people and has left the issue of his mortality to the creator,” Roque said. “He is unmoved by this latest threat and will be unrelenting in his fight against violent extremism.”
ThePrint quoted an unidentified security agency source as saying: “Duterte is coming with baggage, as he has been very vocal about wiping out IS. The Indonesian President too will be present, and could also be a target. We have intelligence inputs that the IS has mobilized its people and is planning to strike.”
Earlier on Friday, Mr. Duterte joined nine other leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to watch the Republic Day celebration to mark the day when India’s constitution took effect on Jan. 26, 1950.
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