ZAMBOANGA CITY (Zamboanga Journal / 23 Jan) Muslims in the southern Philippine island of Jolo were mourning the death of a popular Islamic preacher, who was a key government negotiator during the Sipadan hostage crisis six years ago.
Ustadz Ibrahim Ghadzali died from a lingering illness in Zamboanga City last week.
The island's council of elders has passed a resolution honoring Ghadzali, who was considered by many as one of the most respected mufti in the Sulu archipelago, which covers the islands of Jolo and Tawi-Tawi.
Ghadzali helped Manila negotiate for the release of many hostages in Jolo island after Abu Sayyaf militants kidnapped 21 mostly Western and Asian holiday-makers from the resort island of Sipadan in Sabah, Malaysia.
He was also active in humanitarian activities and a known propagator of peace in Jolo and Mindanao.