Man arraigned in court for shouting ‘Allahu akbar’ outside church

The 29-year-old was charged with breaching the peace and being drunk in a public place

A man who shouted “Allahu akbar” outside the Marsa church during a funeral on Wednesday did so because he was praying for the deceased, the man’s lawyer told the court.

Inspector Elliott Magro arraigned a sullen Modibo Cisse, 29 – an Ivorian national residing in Rome – before magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit and charged him with breaching the peace and with being drunk in a public place.

The man appeared in court this afternoon, after being recognised and picked up by police during an unconnected raid in Marsa earlier today.

Although Cisse was initially also charged with uttering insults and threats, this charge was withdrawn during the sitting. He was not accused of criminal damage to private property, as had been reported in some sections of the media.

His lawyer explained that the man had claimed to have “been praying for the deceased,” when he walked outside the Church of the Holy Trinity in Marsa during a funeral rite and shouted “Allahu akbar” – a Muslim religious exaltation known as the Takbir and often used as a funeral litany.

Asked by the court what he would be replying to the charges, Cisse pleaded guilty. He had accepted to return to Italy voluntarily and would be departing on a flight this evening, the inspector said.

In view of his admission and the fact that he would be returning to Italy voluntarily, Cisse was handed a two-year conditional discharge.

Lawyer Victor Aquilina was defence counsel.

More in Court & Police

Get access to the real stories first with the digital edition