“What I like about Islam? Certainly the concept of individual responsibility, the lack of an intermediary between the believer and God because, in Islam, there is no confession and the imam is not a priest” says Alessandro Paolantoni, a 45 year old Roman who converted to Islam in 2001. “I testify that there is no god but God and I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of God.” The ritual is simple: one time Muslim converts verify the sincerity of their intention, to pronounce the testimony of faith before a man of Muslim faith and two witnesses. And so they are converted: a minority, but growing; in recent years almost 70 thousand people have converted in our country.
The Italian convert has been brought under the spotlight by the case of the 24-year old Genovese, Giuliano Delnevo Ibrahim, who was killed in Syria while fighting alongside the rebels. Delnevo had converted to Islam in 2008. His journey of faith, is , less and less rare in our country. “According to our estimates,” converts of Italian descent “exceeds 70 thousand” explained Izzedin Elzir, imam in Florence and president UCOII (the Union of Islamic Communities in Italy, bringing together over 150 organizations) conversions to Islam are in fact becoming more frequent, especially in the recent times of economic and moral crisis. “For Elzir, the new Muslims” can be a valuable bridge for dialogue between faith and country “in short, a sort of ambassador of Islam.”