The Bato Ali Mosque was once a beautiful edifice with a distinct green dome. Now, only an ugly, bombed-out skeleton topped by a perforated minaret remains. The ravaged mosque stands out as a reminder of what happened here in the southern Philippines almost two years ago.
In the beginning everyone “thought it’s a joke,” recalls Norodin Lucman. He comes from one of the most influential Muslim families in the city of Marawi, where the black flag of the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” was on display for months. “How can you attack a city and take tens of thousands of civilians hostage?” But it happened. “This is how terrorism goes about its work,” says Lucman.