VATICAN CITY – Italy‘s most prominent Muslim, an iconoclastic writer who condemned Islamic extremism and defended Israel, converted to Catholicism Saturday in a baptism by the pope at a Vatican Easter service.
An Egyptian-born, non-practicing Muslim who is married to a Catholic, Magdi Allam infuriated some Muslims with his books and columns in the newspaper Corriere della Sera newspaper, where he is a deputy editor. He titled one book “Long Live Israel.”
“We no longer stand alongside or in opposition to one another,” Benedict said in a homily reflecting on the meaning of baptism. “Thus faith is a force for peace and reconciliation in the world: distances between people are overcome, in the Lord we have become close.”
“Having been condemned to death, I have reflected a long time on the value of life. And I discovered that behind the origin of the ideology of hatred, violence and death is the discrimination against Israel. Everyone has the right to exist except for the Jewish state and its inhabitants,” he said. “Today, Israel is the paradigm of the right to life.”
Muhammed exhorted his followers to kill apostates: “If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him”. According to the Sheikh Yusef Al-Qaradawi, head of the European Council for Fatwa and Research:
That is why the Muslim jurists are unanimous that apostates must be punished, yet they differ as to determining the kind of punishment to be inflicted upon them. The majority of them, including the four main schools of jurisprudence (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi`i, and Hanbali) as well as the other four schools of jurisprudence (the four Shiite schools of Az-Zaidiyyah, Al-Ithna-`ashriyyah, Al-Ja`fariyyah, and Az-Zaheriyyah) agree that apostates must be executed.
There are many other directions from the Quran and hadith to the believers to punish apostates. Allam understands this, and realizes his peril for converting to Christianity. Should muslims execute this punishment upon Allam, he will be the true definition of a martyr, as opposed to muslims who take great joy and believe it is the greatest thing one can do, blowing themselves up, taking as many women and children with them.
May God protect Allam and his family.