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May Malta have a stable future - Imam

Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi at the Paola mosque yesterday. Photo: Jason Borg

Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi at the Paola mosque yesterday. Photo: Jason Borg

A Nationalist Party promise to write off €400,000 in debts owed by an Islamic school won the party the Imam’s endorsement yesterday, as he prayed that Malta would enjoy “a futur fis-sod” (stable future).

Imam Mohammed el Saadi’s made his pro-PN pledge during Lawrence Gonzi’s visit to the Paola mosque, telling the Prime Minister the Muslim community would not forget the party’s help.

“If it weren’t for you our school would be closed and our children would be in the street,” he told Dr Gonzi, before turning to the faithful gathered round and telling them “remember, he told us ‘your school is our school’”.

Aside from its vow to write off debts owed by Mariam al Batool school, the PN has promised the school a yearly €300,000 grant if it is re-elected. A proposed extension to the school was also approved by the planning authority last month.

Speaking from inside the mosque – the first time a politician has done so – Dr Gonzi told the crowd that the PN had, like any true friend, come to the community’s aid when it was in need.

“And when Gaddafi turned his guns on his own people, we were there to condemn him, even though some would have had us hide behind our neutrality. But you can never be neutral when faced with wrongdoing,” the Prime Minister said.

That statement prompted approving cries of “Allahu akbar!” from those present, as did Dr Gonzi’s pledge to make more prayer spots available for Muslims across the country.

The PN, Dr Gonzi said, would continue to protect civil liberties by enshrining the European Convention of Human Rights in the Constitution and upholding human dignity above all else.

“We welcome those who come on cruise liners and those who come on dinghies,” he said.

“Beyond our religion, nationality or any other difference, our shared humanity unites us.”

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