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Malta’s Muslim leaders condemn Paris attack

‘A crime against freedom of expression and Islam’

The vigil in St Julian’s last night near the Love Monument to protest against the massacre in Paris. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

The vigil in St Julian’s last night near the Love Monument to protest against the massacre in Paris. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Muslim leaders in Malta have condemned the killing of French journalists, describing the act as a crime against freedom of expression and Islam.

Imam Mohammad Elsadi and Laiq Ahmed Atif, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, yesterday expressed solidarity with the French people.

“We categorically condemn this criminal attack irrespective of the identity of the perpetrators, their ideology or their motives... At this difficult time we express our full solidarity and sympathy with the French people against all kinds of extremism and terrorism,” Mr Elsadi said.

French police secure a neighbourhood in Corcy, northeast of Paris , yesterday. Photo: ReutersFrench police secure a neighbourhood in Corcy, northeast of Paris , yesterday. Photo: Reuters

He described the storming of the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo as a “terror attack” and “an insult” to the prophet Mohammad and the teachings of Islam.

Mr Elsadi said reverence to Mohammad was not expressed through violence and bloodshed but by showing the true values of respect for the sanctity of human life.

“This cowardly attack is against Islam and Muslims because it damages the image of Islam, fuels Islamophobia, hatred and injustice against the peaceful innocent mainstream Muslims,” Mr Elsadi said.

He insisted the “heinous assault” was a blow to the good relations between the French people and the Islamic world. Unfortunately, it took place after the French government supported the recent Palestinian bid at the UN Security Council to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian lands, he added.

The protest in St Julian’s last night. Photo: Chris Sant FournierThe protest in St Julian’s last night. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Muslim leaders express solidarity with French after shootings in Paris

The killing of 12 people, including two police officers, in Wednesday’s attack on Charlie Hebdo caused worldwide shock. As France yesterday mourned the victims, in yet another incident, a police officer was shot dead in Paris. It was unclear whether this incident was related to the Hebdo shooting.

These terrorists and extremists hijacked Islam, the religion of peace, for their personal agenda

Mr Atif said the Islamic community’s thoughts and prayers were with the victims and all those affected by the “evil and outrageous attack”.

“These terrorists and extremists hijacked Islam, the religion of peace, for their personal agenda and interests through committing vicious atrocities,” he said. Islam did not teach terrorism and provided no justification for any act of violence, he added.

Meanwhile, in a show of unity, Malta’s six MEPs issued a joint statement condemning the “horrific terrorist attack” in Paris. They offered their condolences to the families and friends of the victims.

The MEPs reiterated their stand for freedom of expression and freedom of the press everywhere. “Violence will never succeed in suppressing the values and freedoms we all hold dear.”

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