Loading
High-profile Muslim baptized by Pope asks Muslim converts to "come out"
Magdi Allam being baptized by Pope Benedict XVI
Magdi Allam being baptized by Pope Benedict XVI

.- A day after he was received into the Catholic Church by Pope Benedict XVI during the Easter vigil, Magdi Allam, a widely known Italian Muslim, wrote a letter to his own paper on Easter Sunday in which he issued a twofold call: first to he encouraged other Muslims who have converted to Catholicism to come out publicly and secondly he called on the Church to be “less prudent” about converting Muslims.

The 55-year-old Egyptian-born convert is deputy editor of “Corriere della Sera,” one of Italy’s leading newspapers, and often writes on Muslim and Arab affairs.

In 2006, when Pope Benedict made his Regensburg speech that many Muslims perceived as depicting Islam as a violent faith, Allam defended the Pontiff’s remarks.

He also infuriated some fellow Muslims with his criticism of extremism and support for Israel.

His criticism of Palestinian suicide bombings generated threats on his life in 2003, prompting the Italian government to provide him with a sizeable police protection force.
Allam said at that time that he had continually asked himself why someone who had struggled for what he called "moderate Islam" was then "condemned to death in the name of Islam and on the basis of a Koranic legitimization."

Word of the conversion of a high profile Muslim was only made known on Saturday when the Vatican announced that one of the seven Catechumens to be received in to the Catholic Church by Pope Benedict at the Easter vigil was Muslim.

Although Allam never prayed five times a day facing Mecca and never fasted during Ramadan, as is required of all Muslims, he did make the pilgrimage to Mecca with his deeply religious mother in 1991.

Reacting to his conversion, the Union of Islamic Communities in Italy –which Allam have accused as having links to Hamas- said “he is an adult, free to make his personal choice.”

But Yahya Pallavicini, an Italian Catholic who turned to Islam and is now vice president of the Islamic religious community in Italy, said he respected Allam's choice but said he was "perplexed" by the symbolic and high-profile way in which he chose to convert.

"If Allam truly was compelled by a strong spiritual inspiration, perhaps it would have been better to do it delicately, maybe with a priest from Viterbo where he lives," Pallavicini told ANSA news agency.

In his “letter to the editor” published on Sunday by Corriere de la Sera, Allam  explains that it was a meeting with the Holy Father which allowed him “to see the light, by divine grace, as the healthy and ripe fruit of a long process.”

Allam also explains that his decision came “as a gradual and deep interior meditation that I could not avoid, considering that, for five years, I have been living a shielded life,” in reference to the police protection. 

“Yesterday has been the most beautiful day of my life, when I chose the most simple and explicit name. Since yesterday, my name is Magdi Christian Allam,” he wrote.

Explaining the stages of his conversion, Allam said that “at some point I had to take action” after discovering that “the roots of evil are intrinsic to Islam, that [it] is physiologically violent and historically conflictive.”

The convert also gave thanks to “the embrace of high prelates of great humanity,” mentioning Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and “especially Bishop Rino Fisichella who has personally followed me on the spiritual road to accepting the faith.”

Bishop Fisichella is the Auxiliary Bishop of Rome and President of the Pontifical Lateran University.

But Allam says that the most decisive factor was his meeting with the Pope “whom I have admired and defended as a Muslim for his brilliance in presenting the indissoluble link between faith and reason as the foundation of true religion.”

He praised the Pontiff for agreeing “to personally give me  the Sacraments,” thus launching  “an explicit and revolutionary  message to a Church up to now too prudent regarding the conversion of Muslims.”

Addressing Corriere’s editor in chief Paolo Mieli, Allam writes: “you have asked me if I fear for my life. You are right. I realize what I am going up against, but I will confront my fate with my head high, with my back straight and the interior strength of one who is certain about his faith.”

According to Allam, in Italy “there are thousands of converts to Islam who peacefully live their faith. But there are also thousands of Muslim converts who are constrained to hide their new faith.”

In his open letter, he finally expresses his hope that these former Muslims “from the Pope’s historic gesture and my testimony may be convinced  that the time has come to come out from the shadows of the catacombs.”


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon
Syrian Christian refugees
Papal Foundation Pilgrimage
Exorcism or prayer of liberation?
Jul
23

Liturgical Calendar

July 23, 2014

Wednesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:1-9

Gospel
Date
07/23/14
07/20/14
07/19/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Jer 1:1, 4-10
Gospel:: Mt 13: 1-9

Saint of the Day

St. John Cassian »

Saint
Date
07/23/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 13:1-9

Homily
Date
07/23/14
07/21/14
07/20/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: