Skip to comments.Muslim Converted by Pope Says Life in More Danger
Posted on 03/24/2008 2:17:36 AM PDT by Ippolita
Muslim Converted by Pope Says Life in More Danger
ROME - An outspoken muslim author and critic of Islamic fundamentalism who converted to Christianity at the hands of Pope Benedict said on Sunday he realised he was in greater danger but he has no regrets.
«I realise 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» said Magdi Allam.
In a surprise move on Saturday night, the pope baptized the 55-year-old, Egyptian-born Allam at an Easter eve service in St Peter's Basilica that was broadcast around the world. The conversion of Allam to Christianity -- he took the name "Christian" for his baptism -- was kept secret until the Vatican disclosed it in a statement less than an hour before it began.
Writing in Sunday's edition of the leading Corriere della Sera, the newspaper of which he is a deputy director, Allam said: "... the root of evil is innate in an Islam that is physiologically violent and historically conflictual". Allam, who is a strong supporter of Israel and who an Israeli newspaper once called a "Muslim Zionist," has lived under police protection following threats against him, particularly after he criticised Iran's position on Israel. His conversion, which he called "the happiest day of my life," came just two days after al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden accused the pope of being part of a "new crusade" against Islam. The Vatican appeared to be at pains to head off criticism from the Islamic world about the conversion. "Conversion is a private matter, a personal thing and we hope that the baptism will not be interpreted negatively by Islam," Cardinal Giovanni Re told an Italian newspaper. Still, Allam's highly public baptism by the pope shocked Italy's Muslim community, with some leaders openly questioning why the Vatican chose to shine such a big spotlight it. "What amazes me is the high profile the Vatican has given this conversion," Yaha Sergio Yahe Pallavicini, vice-president of the Italian Islamic Religious Community, told Reuters. "Why could he have not done this in his local parish?"
Allam, the author of numerous books, said he realised that his conversion would likely procure him "another death sentence for apostasy," or the abandoning of one's faith. But he said he was willing to risk it because he had "finally seen the light, thanks to divine grace". Allam defended the pope in 2006 when the pontiff made a speech in Regensburg, Germany, that many Muslims perceived as depicting Islam as a violent faith. He said he made his decision after years of deep soul searching and asserted that the Catholic Church has been "too prudent about conversions of Muslims". At a Sunday morning Easter mass hours after he baptised Allam, the pope, without mentioning him, spoke in a prayer of the continuing "miracle" of conversion to Christianity some 2,000 years after Christ's resurrection. The Vatican statement announcing Allam's conversion said: "For the Catholic Church, each person who asks to receive Baptism after a deep personal search, a fully free choice and adequate preparation, has a right to receive it." It said all newcomers to the faith were "equally important before God's love and welcome in the community of the Church".
(Reporting by Philip Pullella, editing by Mary Gabriel/Reuters)
23 marzo 2008
This is the faith of the early Christians.
One important thing that Cristiano Allam said in his letter (published on Sunday in Corriere della Sera) was that the Church does not do enough to convert Muslims. I think he’s absolutely right. This is the apostolate to which we should all be called in this century, because it will determine the (earthly) future of the world.
However, volunteering for missionary work among Muslims is essentially to embrace martyrdom or its very real possibility, as well as some form of violent backlash among Christians currently living as minorities in Muslim society.
Not everyone is ready for such an outcome.
There’s got to be some way we can do it, though. I don’t think most of us are called to learn Arabic and go to those countries. Preaching and teaching in our own countries, particularly if we develop special materials for Muslims, would probably be what most of us would be called to do.
We should also do special evangelization among black Americans, who are largely unchurched and are completely vulnerable to Islam.
Instead, we sit around having goofy “prayer blanket ministries.”
Even praying for the missionaries is a ministry in itself.
In the end the command of Jesus to make disciples of all the nations based on Mathew 28:19 has to be obeyed.
this guy has never been practicing muslim,
so they have nothing to cry about.
I think it is more that his position towards israel
gets him in trouble with extremists.
I was just reflecting on some of the practicalities of why it hasn't happened to any great extent over 1,400 years.
Prayers for the protection of this man.
He is considered a Muslim by other Muslims regardless of how well or poorly he practiced it, and now is considered an apostate because he specifically rejected it.
His attitude towards Israel was obviously not popular with them, but at the same time, they probably ignored it as simply the ravings of an intellectual. But I think his conversion is going to be interpreted by them as a much more direct challenge.
So far, the response has been muted. He’s Egyptian by birth, and the Egyptian imams have not called for his head, so that’s a good sign!