The police are following a link between the arson of seven cars owned by the Jesuit Order at St Aloysius College, and the far right internet website www.vivamalta.org.
The website’s users, adherents of far rightist and holocaust denier Norman Lowell, were issued with arrest and search warrants earlier this week.
Police are now seriously following up the link between the attacks on the Jesuit community and extremist forces, with search warrants issued for both the arson of the vehicles and “offensive and racist writings on electronic sites”.
Police Commissioner John Rizzo would not comment on the ongoing investigations.
The arson attack against vehicles belonging to the Jesuits, including another similar incident last November, happened just days after the order broadcast their views against racism and xenophobia. Four cars and three vans were set on fire and completely destroyed. Magistrate Joseph Apap Bologna has launched an inquiry.
Earlier this week, website moderators informed users number of vivamalta.org members had been called in for questioning by the police. They told members to “do their duty and help the police authorities any way they can”.
They also warned members that replies which contain “any element that may be construed as incitement to racial hatred” was not doing their “cause” any good, a change in tone compared to the usual vitriolic posts in the internet forum.
Members said their houses had been searched and computers taken, and held at the police HQ for questioning.
A post by Norman Lowell on the internet site warned members not to prejudice the position of members being questioned by the police “with useless banter”. “All will be well. Don’t ask any questions at this stage. Admin will inform you what you need to know at the proper time.”
One of the members who claimed had been questioned at the police HQ described the day as “quite an adventure” – “I spent a few hours locked in a cell which left me time alone to read a little more of mein kampf,” referring to the book Adolf Hitler penned in his own cell where he was arrested after an attempted coup.
Last Sunday, in an interview with General Workers Union weekly it-torca, Lowell said he would like to have Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for dinner, for questioning the existence of the Holocaust. In December 2005 Ahmadinejad made several controversial statements regarding the Holocaust and Israel, referring to the Holocaust as a “myth” and criticising European laws against Holocaust denial. Lowell described him as “a very interesting person.”