Hindus have approached Pope Benedict XVI, urging him to intervene and ensure that Malta treats all religions equally in front of the law.

Bhavna Shinde of Forum for Hindu Awakening, in a communiqué to Vatican, wrote:

"Malta Criminal Code reportedly makes one liable to imprisonment up to six months for publicly vilifying Roman Catholic Apostolic Religion, while committing such an act against any cult tolerated by law makes one liable to imprisonment only up to three months.

"As you very well know, equality is the fundamental tenant of Judeo-Christian faith of which Catholicism is a significant part. As the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, your words are greatly valued by Malta leaders and people. Please intervene and ensure that Malta treats all religions including Hinduism equally in front of the law."

Recently, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed and Rabbi Jonathan B. Freirich, prominent Jewish leader in Nevada and California in USA, had said that it seemed to imply that except Roman Catholic, other religions and denominations including Hinduism and Judaism were just one of the cults in the eyes of Malta.

Mr Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, and Rabbi Freirich, argued that it was perturbing to note that a European country, which prided itself for its human rights initiatives, apparently treated crimes against religious sentiment of other religions/denominations as less serious than against the majority religion and described religions/denominations other than majority religion as cults.

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