Magdi Christian Allam attributes conversion to Benedict XVI
Magdi Christian Allam
Magdi Christian Allam

.- In an interview with the Argnentinean daily La Nacion, Italian journalist Magdi Christian Allam, the Muslim convert baptized by Pope Benedict XVI during the Easter Vigil, said the Pope played a key role in his conversion despite the fact that prior to his baptism he had never met the Pontiff.

Allam explained that his conversion was “a slow and gradual process.  Since I was little I was aware of the Catholic world because I went to Italian-run Catholic schools in Cairo…and this allowed me to learn about the Catholic religion from the inside in a correct way.”

However, he pointed to two factors that influenced his conversion: the threats he received for questioning Islam, and the person of Pope Benedict XVI.

The threats he began receiving beginning in 2003 led him to reflect not only on the reality of Islamic extremism and terrorism but also on Islam as a religion. “I was forced to analyze the Koran and the works and thoughts of Mohammed, and I discovered that there are profound ambiguities that allow for violence and terrorism to be legitimized.”

“The second factor was having met various Catholics with whom I felt completely in tune, as we shared the same values.  Of course the most influential person in this conversion was this Pope, Benedict XVI, who I had never personally met before my baptism during the Easter Vigil,” he revealed.  Allam says that was the “first and only time” he personally encountered the Pope.

“As a journalist, I followed all of the activities of Benedict XVI and was completely fascinated by this thinking. I completely shared his concept of the indissolubility between faith and reason. I was always fascinated by this Pope because he is not only a great man of faith, but also a great man of reason.  I think that many fear the Pope not because of his faith but because of his reason, his ability to challenge them in the realm of reason,” Allam said.

He stressed that he never asked “to be baptized by the Pope.”  “Last year I spoke confidentially with Msgr. Rino Fisichella, rector of the Lateran University, and I began a journey of spiritual initiation with him in the sacraments of Christianity.  In the course of this journey the chance to be baptized by the Pope came up,” he said.

“That said, I am truly hurt and sad because there are Catholics who reacted saying, ‘Why doesn’t he get baptized at a small parish by any priest?’  What I read between the lines is a criticism of Magdi Allam’s baptism because of how it was done, as if it were an embarrassment, because it could have been done more discreetly and reservedly.  And the attitude of the Pope is considered a provocation.  What I say is I am proud to have converted, to have done so publicly and that I can proclaim it with a living voice,” he said.

According to Allam, there is an effort underway to discredit him and attack the Pope, but he said, having received baptism from the Pope is the greatest gift life could give me and was testimony for many Muslims I know who converted here in Italy, but who live their faith in secret out of fear.”

“I think that what I did—and there was not planning—was just, was a good, and I think the Pope was extremely wise in allowing the reasons of the faith to prevail over diplomatic and political considerations,” Allam added.

“We must distinguish between Islam as a religion and Muslims as people.  If I decided to convert, it is totally obvious that I did so because I developed a negative appreciation of Islam.  If I thought Islam were a true and good religion, I would not have converted, I would still be a Muslim.  But we live in a Europe that is sick from relativism and that is beholden to political correctness.  So we have to say that all religions are equal, no matter what their content is, and we can’t say anything that will hurt the feelings of someone else.  But I reject this because I believe that the exercise of freedom of expression cannot be limited.  And I say what I think,” Allam said.

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 (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 18, 2014

Friday of the Passion of the Lord (Good Friday)

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 18:1 - 19:42


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Is 52:13-53:12
Second Reading:: Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Gospel:: Jn 18:1-19:42

Homily of the Day

Jn 18:1 - 19:42


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: