Philippines detains Canadian Islamic preacher deemed as security threat

MANILA (AFP) - A Canadian Islamic preacher has been detained in the Philippines, where authorities deemed him a potential threat to national security, the immigration bureau said on Thursday.

Jamaica-born Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips, who grew up in Canada, was arrested in the southern Philippine city of Davao on Sunday shortly after his arrival there and would now be deported.

"Philippine government agencies asked us to deport him because he could be a potential threat to national security," bureau spokesman Elaine Tan told AFP. She said the bureau was aware that Philips, described by Filipino police as being 68, had been blacklisted by a number of other countries.

The Canadian embassy said it was unable to comment due to privacy laws.

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 guerilla 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.

Superintendent Tony Rivera, a regional military spokesman, said Philips was arrested shortly before he was to deliver a lecture in Davao. He had previously failed to get an official permit to hold a lecture in Zamboanga, another southern Philippine city, Rivera added.

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