A total of 71 per cent of young Muslims in Malta feel they have been discriminated against, a European study has concluded. Seventy-one per cent of young Muslims in Malta said they were discriminated against while a third of young Muslims interviewed all over Europe said they had experienced the same. Also, 64 per cent of Africans of North and Sub-Saharan origin in Malta who identified themselves as Muslims, experienced discrimination in the past 12 months. The European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU-MIDIS), the first EU-wide survey to ask immigrant and ethnic minority groups about their experiences of discrimination and criminal victimisation in everyday life, uncovered the information when the survey was published yesterday. The report says that the Malta’s example merits future careful examination. “The high levels of experienced discrimination should be toned down as they affect asylum seekers primarily, who enter the country in disproportionate numbers to those in other member states and to the size of the country’s population, as United Nations High Commission for Refugees figures show. This could mean that Malta stands to benefit from targeted EU support in its efforts to deal with discrimination in relation to specific groups, such as asylum seekers. Regarding the number of discrimination incidents among those discriminated against at least once in the past year, Malta placed 6th among the 19 participant countries with 6.8 incidents. Fifty-two per cent of Muslims in Malta are not aware of a law that forbids discrimination against people looking for a job on the basis of their ethnic or immigrant background. 23 per cent said it does not exist and 25 per cent said it does. It is interesting to note that 94 per cent of Muslims said Malta does not have an agency that offers support to people who were discriminated against. In fact Africans in Malta and Iraqis in Sweden were the least aware of anti-discrimination structure. Elaine Attard reports.
Nearly half of the African Muslims in Malta interviewed for an EU Fundamental Rights Agency report on discrimination with Muslims, reported discrimination when looking for employment. The report said that 43 percent of African Muslims in Malta reported discrimination when looking for work, but only 25 percent reported discrimination wile at work. 20 percent reported being discriminate against by healthcare personnel and 33 percent at a café, restaurant, bar, or nightclub. Most said that they were not aware of anti-discrimination legislation, and 94 percent could not name an organization that offered advice or support to people who suffered discrimination.
Angelo Bagnasco, Bishop of Genoa and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference denounced far-right lawmaker Mario Borghezio for making anti-Islam statements in a church that planned to hold interfaith prayers in Genoa. Borghezio went to the church accompanied by dozens of others waiving the Northern League’s flag, and stated that he would continue to fight the Knights of the Order of Malta to defend Christianity. Bishop Bagnasco denounced his actions, saying that the church is solely a place for prayer and worship.
Arab states attending the European Union Arab League meeting in Malta lobbied the Dutch government against a controversial anti-Islam film soon to be released in the Netherlands. The foreign ministers of Syria, Egypt, and Morocco spoke against the film. Dutch far right leader Geert Wilders is behind the short 15-minute film, which according to speculation, denounced the Quran as a fascist book, and claims that the Muslim holy book incites people to commit murder. Political leaders are worried about another flare-up of cross-cultural conflict, similar to those that erupted in 2006 after the Danish publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad. The Dutch government is reported to be preparing against a possible international backlash and has already instructed its embassies on how to act after the film’s release.