The Muslim journalist Magdi Allam, who was received into the Church during the Easter Vigil by Pope Benedict XVI, plans to marry Valentina Colombo in the Church on April 22, according to the Italian daily Libero.
The couple’s son, Davide, who is nine months old, was baptized a month ago, when Allam’s journey to the Catholic faith was in its final phase.
Allam is 55 and is associate director of the newspaper Il Corriere della Sera. During the last five years he has lived under police protection due to death threats over his conversion to Christianity and his positions against Islamic fundamentalism.
During the interview, Allam said he is not afraid of death and that he will continue moving “forward” on “the road of truth, freedom and affirmation of life.”
His baptism has been criticized by both Islamic fundamentalists and Islamic moderates, including the Muslim intellectuals who attended a meeting at the Vatican this month to promote inter-religious dialogue.
The director of L’Osservatore Romano, Gian Maria Vian, said yesterday in an editorial that Magdi Allam’s baptism was “not intended to be hostile towards the great Islamic religion.”
Allam took this step “after a long personal search and the necessary preparation for taking this step,” Vian said. “Benedict XVI’s gesture has important meaning because it affirms religious freedom in a humble and clear way” and shows that “anyone who requests baptism without constrictions has the right to receive it,” he emphasized.