About 50 Muslim men took their prayer rugs to the Sliema front yesterday after the planning authority sealed off their place of worship. The Muslims said the Malta Environment and Planning Authority had locked them out of their flat in Sliema where they used to pray, so they decided to take their cause outside.
"We are not here to protest or threaten violence but to express our fundamental human right to gather in prayer," Bader Zina, one of the leaders, said. According to Mepa, a number of complaints had been received by neighbours and the flat did not have a licence to be used as a place of worship.
The Muslims, many of whom Maltese, were dressed in traditional clothing. They had a permit and police protection and said this might become a regular appointment until their flat was reopened.