Malta’s Imam has “unreservedly” condemned the murder of a teacher in France while underlining the work that he’s undertaken for the last 40 years among the Muslim community in Malta.
During a meeting with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs, Christopher Cutajar, Mohammed El Saidi said he has always advocated tolerance and peace and values the right to freedom of expression for those who have a different faith and also those who hold different opinions.
His comments came following a wave of public criticism after his initial comments on the horrific beheading of Samuel Paty. The Imam has said that religious vilification should be made illegal, arguing that provocative comics or satirical pictures, such as Charlie Hebdo’s controversial comics, invited violence by religious extremists.
Cutajar said he appreciated the work of the Imam in the community and referred to the ‘Appeal for Peace’ signed by Pope Francis and religious leaders of the major world religions, who gathered in Rome on 20 October 2020.
He underlined that the Maltese population has undergone rapid transformation over the last years and that historically, Malta has always and continues to welcome people of different faiths, cultures and traditions. It was important that this value of tolerance was respected by everyone.
Both the Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs and the Malta Branch of the World Islamic Call Society endorse the ‘Appeal for Peace’ which among other important values, urges us to ‘become creative artisans of peace’ by making ‘the culture of dialogue’ our own. In this context, they emphasized the importance of mutual respect for different cultures to enhance integration and peaceful coexistence in society.