Skip to comments.Pope risks new rift w/ Islam as he baptises (Arab) journalist facing death threats (Photos)
Posted on 03/24/2008 10:14:18 AM PDT by yankeedame
Last updated at 12:19pm on 24th March 2008
The Pope is risking a new rift with Islam after baptising an outspoken newspaper editor who renounced his Muslim faith after condemning it as a "religion of hate".
Magdi Allam, a top editor for the Corriere della Sera newspaper, said he believed he will face greater demands for his assassination after he committed the sin of "apostasty", the renunciation of his faith.
But the death threats he has already received for his harsh words about Islam only made him more determined to leave the "intolerant" religion.
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The Pope baptises Magdi Allam at the Easter Service
Allam wrote that it was "time to put an end to the violence of Muslims who do not respect the freedom of religious choice."
His conversion freed him "from the shadows of a preaching where hate and intolerance toward he who is different, toward he who is condemned as an 'enemy,"' he said.
And he praised the pontiff - himself under fire from militant Islam - for defending civilization.
Allam predicted his surprise baptism by the pope during the Easter vigil Mass in St. Peter's Basilica Saturday night would spark an "even graver condemnation to death for apostasy," or renunciation of religious faith.
Hamas singled him out for death after he criticized Palestinian suicide bombings, and Italy provides him with a security escort.
But under a widespread interpretation of Islamic legal doctrine, converting from Islam is apostasy and punishable by death - though killings are rare.
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The outspoken Allam is facing death threats over his conversion
Allam's baptism highlighted tensions that have at times characterized the theologian-pope's relationship with the Muslim world.
Allam, 55, was born a Muslim in Egypt, but was educated by Catholics and says he has never been a practising Muslim.
In a front-page letter in Corriere yesterday, he described how Benedict helped in his decision to break with Islam, a process which included support from a Vatican cardinal and several prelates close to the Vatican.
"Undoubtedly the most extraordinary and significant encounter in the decision to convert was that with Pope Benedict XVI," Allam said. He said he admired the pope for his skill in laying out the relationship "between faith and reason as the basis of authentic religion and human civilization."
The pope himself has come under verbal attack from Islamic militants. Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, in a new audio message posted last week, accused Benedict of playing a role in what he called a "new Crusade" against Islam. The Vatican has described the accusation as baseless.
The Vatican is still trying to repair relations with the Muslim world after Benedict in a 2006 speech about faith and reason cited a medieval text that described some of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad as "evil and inhuman," particularly the command to spread the faith "by the sword."
The pope later expressed regret that his remarks angered Muslims and stressed that the text didn't reflect his own opinion.
Benedict made no specific mention of Allam's conversion, but at his Easter Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square, the pope hailed conversions to Christianity as a "miracle."
By baptizing him, in a ceremony televised to millions of people worldwide, Benedict was making "an historic and courageous gesture" to a Church "which up to now had been too prudent in the conversion of Muslims, refraining from proselytizing in countries with Muslim majorities, and being silent about the reality of converts (from Islam) in Christian countries."
He contended that the Church was afraid it couldn't protect the new converts from possible retaliation by Muslims and also worried about Christians living in Islamic countries.
In November, Benedict raised concerns about restrictions on worship by non-Muslims in Saudi Arabia, when he held the first ever meeting between a pontiff and a reigning Saudi King. In his meeting with King Abdullah he lauded the contribution of Christians in Saudi Arabia, where Christians are barred from opening churches.
The Union of Islamic Communities in Italy - which Allam has frequently criticized as having links to Hamas - was quoted as describing the baptism as a personal choice.
An Italian Muslim leader, Yahya Pallavicini, who has been involved with Vatican-Muslim dialogue, expressed surprise.
"As a European Muslim, there was no reason to deny his religion of origin in order to love better or more the Christ figure or Christianity," Pallavicini told Italy's SKY TG24.
The conversion became political fodder ahead of Italy's elections next month. Rejoicing over the conversion was Roberto Calderoli, a leader of the anti-immigrant Northern League party that is an ally of Silvio Berlusconi, the conservative bloc's candidate for the premiership.
The Vatican cardinal in charge of inter-religious dialogue appeared to dismiss any flap over Allam's conversion.
"To whoever knocks, the door of the Church is always open," Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran was quoted by the Apcom news agency as saying. "Freedom of conscience is a fundamental right."
This is as close to the Pope giving Islam the finger as is possible.
I saw Fox News reporting this as a gaffe on the part of the Pope.
I’m not Catholic but, Long live the Pontiff!!!
The Islamo-facist and MSM press will label it as “waterboarding” torture no doubt.
...and they will try to do just that.
I wonder if he has the attention span to sit through a job interview?
Every time that I see that picture I recognize it as the true representative face of Islam.
B16 is playing very high stakes Poker with the mohammedans.
He just raised the bet.
He's been doing just that for years!
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus
I think that the current Pope Benedict is following in the foot steps of the previous Pope. While Pope John Paul determined that Communism was the greatest threat to Christians of the world, I believe that Pope Benedict has determined that his legacy will be to destroy the the spread of Wuhan Islamic-Fundamentalism from spreading around the globe.
As such, a new "Crusade," of sorts, has been started. It is being waged in the media (at the moment) to capture the hearts and minds of many in Muslim countries and in countries where Saudi oil money is trying to create religious unrest through the export of Wahhabism.
In my opinion the Muslim faith needs its own Reformation of sorts so that Wahhabism is wiped from the face of the earth.
At some point I think that the new crusade will shift from the media to the street and there will be blood on the streets, but that hopefully, it will be grass roots revolutions in certain middle eastern countries due to common people becoming upset with the Wahhabi interpretation of Islam. I see Pakistan, Iran and Iraq as being in the forefront of the new crusade, just a little behind Turkey.
Until then, the world and the middle east will be very dangerous places. I believe that Pope Benedict has determined that Wahhabi beliefs have no place in a civilized and modern world and will take steps to keep the spotlight on them and do things that will provoke actions on the part of the fanatical Muslim community.
The leftist media is just beginning to blame it on the Pope. They would NEVER blame the violence on the people who OPENLY PROMISE to kill an innocent man.
Already saying rosaries for Brother Allam....
the headline itself tells what the bias of the writer/agency is.
God Bless the Pope for what he did, doing what the risen Christ commanded the apostles to do, go out and preach the Gospel and baptized peoples from all the nations.
Truly Mr. Allam did the right thing by living a false religion he does not believe in for a faith that is based on the good news of the Gospel.
How can there be a new rift when the old rift has not ended in 1400 years?
...And that is the miracle of Easter.
Are you suggesting that Islam is largely true with only the need of "reform", or that a reformation intrinsically undermines any organized religion, none of which is any truer than another?
I wonder how the author defines "rare"...fewer than ten thousand a year?
“Fanaticism, death and hate animate Islam today...”
GW should really hear Allam’s opinion about Islam in order to get a second opinion about this cult and not keep on repeating the same mantra about how it is a ROP.
It’s time for him to read the Koran and look around in Muslim countries and learn how Christians and other non-Muslims are treated.