Skip to comments.Muslim baptized by pope says he wanted to show others not to fear (Muslim scholars react)
Posted on 03/25/2008 1:39:13 PM PDT by NYer
ROME (CNS) -- The Muslim-born journalist baptized by Pope Benedict XVI at the Easter Vigil said he wanted a public conversion to convince other former Muslims not to be afraid of practicing their new Christian faith.
But a representative of a group of Muslim scholars who recently launched a new dialogue with the Vatican said the prominence given to the baptism of Magdi Allam, a frequent critic of Islam, raises disturbing questions.
Allam, 55, was one of seven adults baptized by the pope March 22 in St. Peter's Basilica.
Aref Ali Nayed, a spokesman for the 138 Muslim scholars who initiated the Common Word dialogue project last October and who established the Catholic-Muslim Forum for dialogue with the Vatican in early March, said conversion is a private matter, but the very public way in which Allam was baptized appeared "deliberate and provocative."
In a March 25 interview with Il Giornale, an Italian newspaper, Allam said thousands of Italian Christians have converted to Islam with no repercussions.
"On the other hand, if a Muslim converts it is the end of the world and he is condemned to death for apostasy. In Italy there are thousands of converts who live their faith in secret for fear they will not be protected," Allam said.
"I publicly converted to say to these people: 'Come out of the catacombs, live your faith openly. Do not be afraid,'" he said.
In a March 23 article in Corriere della Sera, the newspaper for which he writes, Allam said, "His Holiness has launched an explicit and revolutionary message to a church that, up to now, has been too prudent in converting Muslims."
He said Catholics were "abstaining from proselytism in countries with a Muslim majority and being silent about the reality of converts in Christian countries out of fear -- the fear of not being able to protect the converts in the face of their condemnations to death for apostasy and for fear of reprisals against Christians living in Islamic countries."
"Well, with his witness today, Benedict XVI tells us we need to conquer our fear and not be afraid to affirm the truth of Jesus even to Muslims," Allam wrote in Corriere.
Allam told Il Giornale that although his mother was a devout Muslim she sent him to Catholic preschool, elementary and high schools. In the Corriere article, he said he even had gone to Communion once, which demonstrates how he had been attracted to the church for a long time.
He told Il Giornale his mother later regretted sending him to Catholic schools "because I never shared a certain zeal in practicing Islam; I always had a lot of autonomy. And, so, I became aware that Catholicism corresponded perfectly to the values that I held."
Allam also said his Easter baptism marked a total and definitive turning from "a past in which I imagined that there could be a moderate Islam."
He said Islamic "extremism feeds on a substantial ambiguity found in the Quran and in the concrete actions of Mohammed."
While he moved definitively away from Islam five years ago, Allam said it was Pope Benedict's teaching that convinced him to become a Catholic.
"He has said the basis for accepting a religion as true is how it accepts the basic rights of the person, the sacredness of life, freedom, choice (and) equality between men and women," Allam said.
In a written statement reacting to Allam's baptism by the pope at the globally televised Easter Vigil, Nayed said, "It is sad that the intimate and personal act of a religious conversion is made into a triumphalist tool for scoring points."
In addition, he said, "It is sad that the particular person chosen for such a highly public gesture has a history of generating, and continues to generate, hateful discourse."
Nayed said it would be important for Pope Benedict and the Vatican to distance themselves from Allam's stance on Islam.
"The whole spectacle with its choreography, persona and messages provokes genuine questions about the motives, intentions and plans of some of the pope's advisers on Islam," he said, adding that the Muslim scholars would continue their dialogue with the Vatican.
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, told the Italian news agency ApCom March 23 that he did not know how Allam came to be among the people baptized by the pope at the Easter Vigil "or who promoted it."
However, he said, freedom of conscience is a basic right and "to whomever knocks the door of the church is always open."
At least the threats are verbal .. for now.
This is perfect.
he’d better check his bicycle for bombs before riding it each time...
24"A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub,[c] how much more the members of his household!
26"So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny[d]? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. 30And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
that ^ was the inspiration for my previous post, btw...and yes, that is a true story...
Oh, yes, Point of Order:
Magdi Christiano Allam is not a mohammedan.
He was ... now he is a new creation in Christ.
“Aref Ali Nayed, a spokesman for the 138 Muslim scholars who initiated the Common Word dialogue project last October and who established the Catholic-Muslim Forum for dialogue with the Vatican in early March, said conversion is a private matter, but the very public way in which Allam was baptized appeared “deliberate and provocative.”
Coming to faith in Christ is a private but in the case of being baptized, a public decision. Mr. Ali Nayed should also be respectful of Mr. Allam’s decision as well.
I think it was Ayaan Hirsi Ali who made this important distinction: There are moderate Muslims, but there is no moderate Islam.
They are only talking with the Vatican because they believe (and with reason) that islam will be the majority religion in Italy and Europe in the not so distant future. The talks are a way to set up lines of communication for when Sharia is implemented (look at what has happened in some African areas and in the old Eastern Empire).
By baptizing a muslim though, the Pope is basically telling them that he will not play by their rules. To a muslim, this is punishable by death. Both for the convert and for the Pope.
Excellent article that is also a part of a thread. This baptism could as the orignial online news article commetary has said, could be the start of the spread of the Gospel of Christ among the Muslims. B16 could do to Islam as JPII could do to communism.
Because this is exactly the weapon that does terror in: fearlessness.
Godspeed and Amen!
And Ave Maria!
You have to understand something about the Church.
Go back and revisit the other threads on Allam's conversion. He points to the theology put forth by this pope as leading to his conversion. No other religious leader today has had the temerity to address the Muslims! Anyone who doubts that the Holy Spirit is actively involved in the selection of Christ's successor, should take note of the challenge set forth by Benedict XVI in his Regensburg address. Consider for a moment, there is no central figure to represent Islam; there is no central figure to represent the Orthodox or Protestant Christian Churches, nor is their one central figure to represent Judaism. In the next few weeks, when Benedict XVI meets with the 142 Muslim scholars, the eyes of the entire world will be focused on him and what he has to say.
If, as Magdi Allam attests, anyone can penetrate the wall that surrounds Islam, it is Pope Benedict XVI. May God continue to bless him abundantly on his mission, for that is what he has been called to do for all Christians!
Remember when B16 gaved that famous Regensburg speech, it was given, as my memory is correct, the day after when the USA remembered the 5th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and that was still fresh on B16’s mind at the time. Plus his trip to Turkey was a few months away. What happened at St. Peter’s this past Holy Saturday night was what I call the “Berlin Wall effect”.
While it is true there are a number of Christian churches, when it comes to leadership in the Christian faith, the Pope is seen as the most important Christian of all.
Also the Pope is simply obeying the command of Christ to make disciples in all the nations.
Also this Pope knows that the Christian faith is growing very strong in the global south and will in the end send missionaries to the countries in the west, this including the Catholic Church which is seeing a lot of this growth, to bring the Gospel back to the west including planting the seeds of faith in the hearts of many of the Muslims.
Gifts of the Holy Spirit already bless this man!
Prayers for him and his family.
Time to call for a new Crusade, Benny!
“Time to call for a new Crusade, Benny!”
Long past. However, this time Satan brewed up political correctness to forestall that.
Allam said, Yesterday evening I converted to the Catholic Christian religion, renouncing my previous Islamic faith. I finally saw the light, through divine grace, the healthy and ripe fruit of a long gestation lived in suffering and in joy ...
I am particularly grateful to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, who has imparted to me the sacraments of initiation--baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist--in the Basilica of St. Peter in the course of the solemn celebration of the Easter vigil.
Then the new convert showed that he had no intention of playing down his adherence to his new faith. Referring to his baptismal name, he wrote: I have assumed the most simple and explicit Christian name: Christian. Since yesterday, therefore, my name is Magdi Christian Allam.
He continued this way:
For me [this is] the most beautiful day of my life. To acquire the gift of the Christian faith on the memorial of the Resurrection of Christ from the hand of the Holy Father is, for a believer, an incomparable privilege and an inestimable good. ...
[This is the] authentic religion of Truth, of Life, and of Liberty. In my first Easter as a Christian I not only have discovered Jesus but have discovered for the first time the true and unique God, who is the God of Faith and Reason.
These lines are a strong challenge to Islam, which emphasizes the uniqueness of Allah--so unique, so isolated, that in Islam the dogmas of the Trinity and the Incarnation cant be entertained in any way. Allam is saying that the true and unique God is not to be found in Islam, which claims him but does not have him, and that the God of Islam is not really the God of faith and reason.
Later in his open letter Allam turned again explicitly to his newspapers editor and wrote, Dear editor, you ask whether I fear for my life in the consciousness that my conversion to Christianity certainly will obtain for me a death sentence for apostasy. You are quite right. Allam said that he will face my fate with head high, with back straight, and with interior sureness of one who has the certainty of his faith.
Then he said that His Holiness has sent an explicit and revolutionary message to a Church that until now has been too prudent in the conversation with Muslims, refraining from evangelizing in countries with an Islamic majority and being quiet about the reality of conversions in Christian countries. Out of fear. Fear of not being able to protect converts from condemnation to death for apostasy [from Islam] and fear of reprisals against Christian residents of Islamic countries.
Well then, today Benedict XVI, with his testimony, says we need to overcome the fear and not be timorous in the affirmation of the truth of Jesus even among the Muslims. ...
In Italy there are thousands of converts to Islam who serenely live their new faith. But there also are thousands of Muslim converts to Christianity who are impelled to conceal their new faith out of fear of being assassinated by Islamic extremists who hide among us.
Allam concluded his open letter by saying that he hopes the historic gesture of the Pope and my testimony will bring out the conviction that the moment has arrived to leave the shadows of the catacombs and to affirm publicly our will to be fully what we are.
If we cannot have here in Italy, in the cradle of Catholicism, our home, a guarantee of full religious liberty, how will we ever be able to be credible when we denounce the violation of such liberty elsewhere in the world?
Way cool! I hadn't thought of that, but the symetry is pretty obvious. This will be a longer and tougher battle though.
True, it will be a longer and tougher battle, but remember this was also said about communism, which is what can be compared to the most to Islamism.
I wonder if Obama was ever baptized. It’s sort of funny that we keep hearing that his 2 daughters wre baptized by Rev. Wright. He never says when, and where, and by whom he was baptized.
It’s my understanding that Obama’s church does not require baptism to belong to it. Nor does it require a Moslem to renounce Mohammed to join the church. I read an article on this in the past few weeks. Has anyone else seen this?
A talking head (I can’t remember who) on TV this past week said that Obama has never been baptized into any Christian religion.