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Malta - What's wrong with chopping off thieves' hands, Imam asks
If you had asked me this last week after the theft of the poppy collection tins from my church I might have answered nothing.
In more rational mood, this is the advantages of sharia law expounded on a Maltese TV programme by a Imam thought to be "moderate and tolerant" From the Times of Malta.
Imam Mohamed El Sadi, the Muslim leader in Malta, believes chopping off the hands of thieves is a "deserving punishment".
Mr El Sadi made the statement during Monday's television programme Bondiplus, where he defended Sharia law, a judicial system used in some Islamic states and which can involve severe corporal punishments.
Contacted yesterday, Mr El Sadi stood by his comments and added the world was incurring the "wrath of God" through its permissiveness and destruction of spiritual and moral values, namely through the acceptance of "same-sex marriages, homosexuality, adultery and abortion".
Under Sharia law, such things are considered crimes that may even be punishable by death. When asked if he agreed with such punishments he said: "Yes, of course. I agree with everything Islamic."
The TV show discussed whether crucifixes should be banned from classrooms. When presenter Lou Bondì asked Mr El Sadi if Muslims could be more tolerant and "light-hearted" in their reactions to parody and criticism, Mr El Sadi said Europe's permissive values were not necessarily ideal.
Mr Bondì then asked whether religion should dictate the laws of the country, through, say, Sharia law.
"What is wrong with Sharia law? If someone steals, he is taking from the country or the poor, so why is it wrong to cut off his hand?" the Imam replied.Mr El Sadi said the punishment should terrify thieves and criminals, "not the good people".
When speaking to The Times about his remarks, the Imam said: "Why don't you concentrate on what is common rather than pick on what is controversial?"
He said he was not proposing this system for Europe because it would be undemocratic. But it was also undemocratic for Muslim countries not to use it because most Muslims wanted it.
He conceded there were different kinds of Muslims who thought of Sharia differently. "But whoever denies this is not a Muslim," he said, adding the law of God was perfect.
Fr Renè Camilleri, who was also a guest on the programme, said he was "shocked" by the Imam's comments.
"I tried to insist violence is unacceptable. The concept is horrific to me. It is equivalent to the death penalty. I know it is what Sharia law dictates but, coming from him, such a moderate and tolerant person, I was shocked," he said, adding he never considered the Imam to be a fundamentalist.
(anthropologist Ranier Fsadni ) Mr Fsadni said the Imam was simply being "intellectually honest" and defending his belief and was not proposing the system for Malta. He was also honest about his views of democracy and the rule of the majority.
I have observed here before that the Maltese, having historic experience of living under the yoke of Islam, are quite forthright in their views about that ideology.
One such comment begins
@Mr Ranier Fsadni
Bend your back more to be politically correct and you'll need my chiropractor......Hard to simply accept that the man who represents muslims in Malta, who is a leading influence behind the one school that educates dozens of Maltese muslim children believes its OK to chop off hands of thieves perhaps? Of course if a Catholic schoolmaster had to express support for corporal punishment, he would be suspended from his job...... Exceptions are apparently allowed on your brain’s shockometer for imams who advocate amputations. Interpretations of the Koran by imams have more weight that the opinion of a mere priest because Islam has no central authority similar to the papacy to enforce a single doctrine - you should know that......