The head of the Muslim community in Malta, Imam Mohammad El Sadi, has urged Muslims to react peacefully to plans in the United States for the burning of the Koran to mark the September 11 events.

In a statement this morning, the Imam said that on the eve of 9/11 anniversary, Muslims all over the world should offer a special prayer to seek Allah's mercy and guidance for all and especially for those who are against Islam.

"May Allah in His Infinite Mercy grant them wisdom to seek truth and right path and help them to sow seeds of love so all communities can live in peace and harmony. "

He said that Muslims must understand and reaffirm their faith in the Miracle of Koran. The Koran could be altered or destroyed. The pages and the book could be shredded, burnt or buried but the Divine Message lived on.

"So our brothers and sisters do not despair but rise and respond in a manner that is befitting for the followers of Islam. On this day we ask all Muslims to assemble in their nearest mosques at the appointed time and all Hafiz (person who can recite the entire Holy Quran by heart) to recite verses from Holy Quran to send a message to all that Quran lives in the heart and soul of every Muslim and efforts to destroy it will surely fail as it has in the past."

The Imam said Muslims should avoid going on the streets to protest. Instead they should go to a Mosque, school, or remain in their place of work or at home and recite a verse of holy Koran.

He said the US administration should use its powers to prevent this unfortunate but expected bonfire as this not only goes against the professed American values of respect of all religions and their sacred books and symbols but also endangers the Christian Muslim relations and the world peace.

The Imam said the September 11 attacks and all acts of terrorism were considered by all Muslims as atrocious and without justification and condemned without reservation.

"May we add here, we call all people who committed or commit acts of terrorism simply terrorists. We do not prefix their faith to their act. Branding terrorism or terrorist as Islamic or Muslim is major reason for the rise of this Islamic phobia."

He expressed concern that the burning of the Koran would, 'God forbid', start a cycle of violence that could in its wake leave victims far greater in number than 9/11 tragedy.

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