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
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- 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


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea

Liturgical Calendar

December 18, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Jer 23: 5-8
Gospel:: Mt 1: 18-25

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27