Muslim and Catholic preachers gathered at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Paola, Malta, yesterday to discuss the role of the family in a modern, globalised society, negative media coverage of faith and the issue of gay marriage, which they united against.

Archbishop Paul Cremona and the head of the Islamic Centres and Propagation Bureau, Ammar Hreba, began by taking the press to task for what they considered to be a proliferation of unwarranted and one-sided attacks on faith issues. Imam Muhammed el Sadi, head of the Islamic Cultural Centre, said that homosexuality was “unnatural, immoral, unhealthy and fruitless”.

Also Present was Archbishop Paul Cremona, who spoke out against secularisation in the West and went on to discuss the role of the family in society, stating his belief that any divergence from or destruction of said institution would have a significantly negative impact upon society and the economy.

Mr Cremona added, “We also need to use the media to promote messages in favour of stability of marriages and family. Many aspects of the media give negative ideas of what true love is.”

He went on to assert that marriage was between a man and a woman. In marriage, he said, a couple promised to honour, love and respect each other “till death do them part”.

Mr Hreba was blunt about his views on same-sex marriage, saying, “If we neglect our religion based on the negative direction of the media, this will lead to violence. If we let the family collapse, there will be catastrophe and destruction.

“Same-sex marriage destroys the entity of the family which began with Adam and Eve.” Curiously, he was also keen to emphasise the importance of “tolerance” and dialogue between religions and cultures.

After the press conference, the rest of the discussion took place in private, where the delegates were joined by theologians. According to timesofmalta.com, sources said the concluding statement described the family as a natural institution between man and woman.