The Malta Independent 26 May 2024, Sunday
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Without proper and timely information extremist ideas will proliferate

Noel Grima Sunday, 14 April 2024, 07:13 Last update: about 2 months ago

Those who took to the road early on Wednesday especially on what we incorrectly term the Regional Road found the road blocked at its northern end.

Soon queues developed and people began to be late for work or school.

As time went by the chaos multiplied and soon people took to their mobile phones to vent their frustration, probably the same people caught up in the traffic jam.

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Finding no plausible reason for the delay it was the government that got blamed, as usual.

Then people at the other end of the road, the southern end, began to report a parallel traffic jam. Then they noticed a crowd next to the mosque. They were soon informed that these people were coming out of the mosque after celebrating the end of Ramadan, the Eid al-Futr.

That did it. Soon the online comments became a xenophobic anti-Muslim rant.

One thread soon had no less than 400 posts.

Not all were anti-Muslim. In fact there were some by Maltese Muslims defending the celebration and comparing it with the Good Friday processions and also with the St Patrick celebration.

It was only in the late afternoon that the traffic jam was eased.

First the bottleneck near Paceville was lifted.

And the crowd around the mosque went home or to work.

It was only later in the day that a sort of official explanation was offered together with a request for understanding.

The blockage at the northern end had to be prolonged because the concrete did not get dry on time.

Now in succeeding days even this explain found doubters, including some who are supposed to be knowledgeable.

My point is the importance of users being informed in a timely manner so that they can be warned and if possible take appropriate action.

And as regards religious ceremonies, we are now living in a multicultural world and no longer in a country dominated by only one religion.

If we are not to build a future where religious diversity turns to xenophobic rants, we know the way forward.

 

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