OnIslam & Newspapers
Monday, 16 December 2013 00:00
CAIRO – A leading Maltese politician and convert to Islam has expressed his intentions to run for a seat in the European parliament, announcing his plans to focus on social issues like austerity and immigration.
“I stand for the poor, the weak and the emarginated and those who are at risk of being left behind… it is these people who are suffering because of austerity policies advocated by conservative governments,” Mario Farrugia Borg told Malta Today.
Announcing the news, Borg, aformer right-wing local councilor who left the nationalist party to join Labour Party two years ago, said that party leader Joseph Muscat had asked him to run for election in May.
Accepting the invitation, he asserted that his conversion to Islam would not affect his identity as a Maltese.
He added that the beliefs he holds are universal to most religions, mentioning fundamentals like kindness to neighbors and mutual respect.
He also said that his immigration policy had nothing to do with racism or xenophobia, which he condemn, but more to do with maintaining ‘sustainable numbers’ of immigrants to ensure successful integration.
Borg asserted that he was not specifically aiming to gain the votes of an exclusive Muslim community in Malta, although this may be a natural outcome of his religious affiliation.
“I am Maltese and my intention is to attract the vote of the Maltese,” he said.
“People should vote for me for what I stand for, not for my religion.”
There is no official figure on the number of Muslim in Malta, an island country with a 400,000-strong population.
According to Wikipedia, the present-day Muslim community in Malta is a minority of around 6,000.
There is one mosque, founded in 1978 by the World Islamic Call Society.