July 8, 2013
Comparing Ratzinger and Bergoglio would be wrong. Also unfair. These are two Popes who we respect and appreciate.
However, it is hard not to notice the images and words, which also changed in the age of communication. Personally, I still think of the scene, broadcast on television around the world, of the baptism of Magdi Allam, made personally by Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Basilica during the Easter Vigil of 2008.
The same Allam that, after the election of Bergoglio, five years later said: “My conversion to Catholicism is no longer. The legitimacy of Islam as the true religion Allah as the true God, Muhammad as a true prophet, and the Koran as the sacred text and the mosque as a place of worship, these things more than any other factor drove me away from the Church. I’m rather convinced that Islam is an inherently violent ideology. Even more I am convinced that Europe will end up being submissive to Islam, as has already happened since the seventh century. Christians will not have the vision and the courage to denounce the incompatibility of Islam with civilization and the fundamental rights of the person.”
Today in Lampedusa, the Pope came to bear witness to the tragedy of migrants. Most of them are Muslim; men faced the risk of death (and many die) to escape from hunger, misery and despair. To them the Pope sent his best wishes for the start of Ramadan. Horror, for many. But not for the ideals of the Church of Pope Francis.
From Magdi Allam in full regalia to the choice of being among the poor and the outcasts of Lampedusa. The pope’s presence is a blow to the globalization of indifference and intolerance.
Leading cardinal Angelo Scola called on the Islamic world to allow individual Muslims the freedom to convert to Christianity. The call comes following the death threats posed against Italian journalist Magdi Allam, concerning his conversion from Islam to Catholicism. Scola said that no one, including Muslims could impose the identity of the community to a point where it violates the human freedom of the individual, including the freedom to convert. Cardinal Scola stated that he does not want to see the end of Muslim societies or cultures, but stressed that the prerogative should be the individual, and to ensure that freedom of religion was an inalienable right.
Conservative Italian MP Isabella Bertolini called for authorities to clamp down on Internet website which have been found to propagate jihadist messages and encourage terrorist activities. Don’t under-estimate the danger posed by the internet said Bertolini. Such websites, including one by the name ‘Ekhlas,’ has been guilty of death threats against PM Berlusconi and Italian journalist Magdi Allam. Bertolini also warned against the dangers of terrorism infiltrating illegal immigrants and the equally alarming incitement of hatred against Catholicism propagated in mosques in the country.
Young Muslim Italians have expressed their support for journalist and recent Christian convert Magdi Allam, and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, after death threats were posted against them on an al-Qaeda inspired website. The organization Young Muslims of Italy asserted that no Muslims ought to sympathize with these threats, and that The association, Young Italian Muslims, expresses disdain and rejects the unacceptable violent threats that appeared in an internet forum, run by Muslims.” In a statement issued on Wednesday, the organization expressed solidarity with Berlusconi and Allam, saying that it is important to do so as members of both a civil society and religions community.
Magdi Allam, a Christian convert to Islam who has been targeted with death threats over apostasy, has expressed concern about these dangers and the fear that the perpetrators may be Italian. Allam’s fears were expressed concerning the large number of al-Qaeda inspired websites popping up on the internet, and the belief that some websites are created and maintained by Italians. He also said that persons responsible for death threats against him may be converts to Islam, or Muslim immigrants who have been Italianised – noting the significance of a cultural blend. Allam also stated that Italy should be on a high alert, because such persons may be terrorists and Italian citizens “who could be our neighbours”, who risk being ignored until there is a “tragic accident which forces us to open our eyes”.
On the Al Qaeda linked Ekhlas website, a section in Italian was launched on the previously all-Arabic website. Ekhlas’ Italian section appears to take the place of a former imam from the northern Italian city of Carmagnola; the Italian postal police shut down the blog in February. The new section in Italian includes a welcome message and a forum that appears to be targeted to Italian Muslims. Participants in the forum make reference to Bin Laden, and love for the mujahadeen. Discussions on the website include the recent conversion of Magdi Allam, an Italian journalist who converted from Islam to Catholicism.
One day after Vatican baptism, Muslim-born and Catholic-convert journalist Magdi Allam wrote that Islam is physiologically violent and historically confliction. In the midst of talks with Muslim leaders and intellectuals, the Vatican has come under fire for allowing a Muslim to be baptized in such a public way. The Vatican newspaper stressed however, that this inter-religious dialogue is of extreme importance and that Allam’s baptism was a papal gesture aimed at stressing religious freedom, and that no hostile intentions were meant towards Islam. Reverend Federico Lombardi said that Allam has the right to express his own ideas.
The north-eastern Italian town of Treviso ruled that the wearing of a burka may be permitted. Despite legislation that prevents the wearer from being recognized, Vittorio Capocelli, Treviso’s prefect, made the ruling saying women were allowed to wear the full-body covering but may be asked to reveal their features for identification purposes. Deputy director Magdi Allam attacked Mr. Capocelli’s decision as “leading us straight to the suicide of our civilisation.”
Magdi Allam The general public and prosecutors are playing down and failing to understand the risk of having quiet terrorist cells “without weapons” that are active in Italy and are linked to Al Quaida.
Magdi Allam The arrest of four Muslims in Cremona accused of preparing a terrorist attack in Milan’s underground and against the Duomo di Milano.