The Malta Independent 18 April 2024, Thursday
View E-Paper

Malta reacts to the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris

Saturday, 10 January 2015, 10:00 Last update: about 10 years ago

The terror attacks which saw 12 people killed as masked gunmen stormed the offices of satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo has drawn condemnation from every angle. Maltese as well as foreigners have united to express their condemnation and disgust at what has happened.

Imam Mohamed El Sadi

The Muslim leader in Malta Imam Mohamed El Sadi expressed his "shock and sadness" at the terror attack in France against the publication Charlie Hebdo.

"We categorically condemn this criminal attack irrespective of the identity of the perpetrators, their ideology or their motives.

"This is not only a crime against the media and the freedom of expression but it is an insult to Prophet Muhammad (P.b.u.h) and to the teaching of the Islamic faith.

"Revering and loving of Muhammad is not expressed by violence and bloodshed but by showing and materialising the true values of respect for the sanctity of the human life, tolerance and peaceful coexistence between cultures which Prophet Muhammad (P.b.u.h) preached.

"This heinous assault is a blow against the good relations between the French people and the Islamic world and the noble support of the French people for the Islamic just causes especially the Palestinian cause.

"Unfortunately, it took place after the support of the French government for the recent Palestinian bid at United Nations Security Council to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian lands. This coward attack is against Islam and Muslims because it damages the image of Islam, fuel Islamophobia, hatred and injustice against the peaceful innocent mainstream Muslims.

"We extend our sincere condolences to the French government, French people and the families of the victims and wish a speedy recovery for the casualties. At this difficult time we express our full solidarity and sympathy with the French people against all kinds of extremism and terrorism."


Carmen Sammut

"The implications of this attack for liberal democracies are various. 

"While freedom of expression is deemed to be sacred, the attackers probably wanted to punish Charlie Hebdo and coerce other journalists into self-censorship. 

"But the most worrying outcome is the anger and fear that hit Europe because it is further fuelling Islamophobia and it is strengthening the appeal of Far-Right populist movements. Muslims, who constitute around 7% of the European population, now inhabit a context of greater anxiety.

"Anti-Muslim mistrust had already soared as a result of the rise of Isis. A media narrative that refers to a civilisational war may in fact foster greater marginalisation of ethnic minorities and trigger more resentment and radicalisation.

"One must add that extremists tend to provide sensational sound-bites and their divisive views often overwhelm the concerns of the moderate majority. In turn this further poisons the information stream and exacerbates hatred.

"These are indeed difficult times when Europe needs good leadership."


Muslim community in Malta condemns attacks

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Malta categorically condemned the attack at the office of Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and all those affected by this evil and outrageous attack. We would like to offer our heartfelt sympathies and condolences to all those who have been left bereaved.

"These terrorists and extremists had hijacked the religion of Islam - the religion of peace - for their personal agenda and interests through committing vicious atrocities. In reality, Islam does not approve of disorder in any form. Islam is far from teaching terrorism. It teaches rule of law, obedience to the authorities and does not let anyone take the law in his own hands. The Holy Quran clearly states:

"Those who create disorder in the earth, they are the real losers"; "and commit not iniquity in the earth, creating disorder"; "and Allah loves not disorder". 

The Holy Quran in fact champions the sanctity of human life and states:

"...whosoever killed a person, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and who so gave life to one, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind." (5:33)

"Islam categorically rejects and condemns every form of terrorism. It does not provide any cover or justification for any act of violence, be it committed by an individual, group or government. I most strongly condemn all acts and form of terrorism because it is my deeply rooted belief that not only Islam but also no true religion, whatever its name, can sanction violence and bloodshed of innocent men, women and children in the name of God. God is love, God is peace!

"We Ahmadi Muslims sympathise and love humanity and so wherever mankind suffers in any way it leaves us grieved and pained. We are highly grieved and disturbed at this attack. Our hearts are filled with love and compassion for them."


Speaker expresses deep sorrow

Speaker Anglu Farrugia wrote to Gérard Larcher, President of the French Senate, and to Claude Bartolone, President of the French National Assembly, expressing his deepest sorrow following the tragic terroristic attack on the Paris offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine, which resulted in the death of 12 persons, including two policemen, and the infliction of serious wounds on five other people.

On behalf of the members of the House of Representatives, Dr Farrugia conveyed his sincerest condolences to the Presidents and Honourable Members of the French Senate and the French National Assembly, as well as to the members of the families of the deceased. He also expressed solidarity with his French counterparts in the fight against terrorism, which is a serious threat against democracy and freedom.

Gorg Mallia

Cartoonist and academic Gorg Mallia condemned the barbaric act.

"Like many people in the free, democratic world, I felt violated by the attack on Charlie Hebdo. This was a barbaric, violent manifestation of intransigence in the face of the democratic right of free speech.

"Cartoonists live to lance the boil of taking anything too seriously. Humour is the best weapon in the face of overblown political, social, religious dogmatism, because it shows the ridiculous side of those who believe their way to be the only possible way.

"So the killing of Charb and his fellow cartoonists was intolerance trying to demoralise and destroy free thought and divergent opinions. That is not acceptable in a democratic society!

"My cartoon was a spontaneous visual statement intended to pay tribute to those who shed their blood for the right to say what they believed, using the same tools they can never use again because of the savagery of close-minded, religious extremism."


Father Joe Borg

University lecturer Father Joe Borg called the Charlie Hebdo shooting an attack against religion and free speech.

"Fundamentalists try to hide their intolerance and barbarity under some respectable guise or other. In this case the extremists perverted Islam for their needs and blasphemed against their God and their Prophet. Islam describes God as all merciful and compassionate. Where these divine attributes present in any way in the Paris massacre?

"D. W. Griffiths' in Intolerance, his ground-breaking film of the silent era, clearly shows that intolerance knows of no race, religion, or political creed. The history of humanity is unfortunately littered with men's inhumanity and intolerance towards other men and women. Griffiths' three-and-a-half hour epic intercuts the ruining of the life of marginal Americans at the hands of capitalists; Christ's crucifixion; the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of 1572; and the fall of Babylon as a result of a conflict between devotees of two rival Babylonian gods.

"Were he to re-do a more updated version of his film he would probably include the attack on Charlie Hebdo within the parameters of the rise of Islamic radicalism which is a threat to decent human beings independent of their ethnicity or religion.

"Intolerance is combated not by the perpetuation of emotive stereotyping of groups and situations. If while discussing this issue you find yourself using 'we', 'they', 'ours' remember that your stereotyping leads only to the death of rational analysis of this situation which is complex and volatile. Such an attitude helps no one except the extremists."

Joe Friggieri

Philosophy professor Joe Friggieri said the incident should not be seen as a clash between religion and free speech.

"What happened in France should NOT be seen as a clash between religion and freedom of speech but as a despicable act of premeditated, cold-blooded murder. No ifs and buts, no fudging or faking, no qualification.

"The right to freedom of religion includes the right to practise NO religion. The right to freedom of expression extends to each and every member of the community, irrespective of their views, opinions or beliefs. And so it includes the right to criticise any kind of belief or belief-system one happens to embrace. 

"Faced by the atrocities we have just witnessed in Paris, we do well to remind ourselves of the basic principles that constitute the fabric of communal living in a pluralist, democratic society."





  • don't miss