Italy: Islamist website attacks Vatican baptism

Rome, 26 March (AKI) - An Islamist website has condemned the controversial baptism of Italian Muslim journalist Magdi Allam and questioned the strength of his previous commitment to the Muslim faith.

The site, linked to the Islamist Hamas movement in the Palestinian territories says that Allam was nominally Muslim, and that he admitted to have never practised Islam and to have never prayed in his life.

The website also blasted the Western press for saying that Allam was "a prominent Muslim", and the "truth is that he was neither Muslim nor prominent."

"The problem lies in the vindictive atmosphere surrounding the conversion ceremony, including the anti-Islamic allusions and insinuations," says the article.

Allam was also quoted in a book that he wrote titled "Long Live Israel", saying that "the root of evil is innate in an Islam that is physiologically violent and historically conflictual."

The article then responded to Allam's quote and spoke of Christianity's 'conflictual history', by naming bible passages, crusades, holocausts, pogroms, inquisitions, world wars and ethnic cleansings, "committed in the name of Jesus".

"As to the issue of violence, Allam is equally ignorant of historical facts," said the article.

"Because if a religion is to be judged solely by the behaviour of its followers, then Christianity stands out as the main candidate for being the most violent religion under the sun."

The article, written by a Palestinian commentator, concludes by saying that Muslims and Christians are compatriots all over the world, and that each community must be sensitive to the sensibilities and feelings of the other.

Meanwhile yesterday, the Milanese imam Yahya Pallavicini, vice-president of the Islamic Religious Community in Italy, described Allam's baptism as an "honest intellectual mistake" that had been committed with the complicity of the Vatican.

"Our position is to proceed with dialogue but we cannot hide our great embarassment for the indelicate choice of the Pope's advisors," he told Adnkronos International (AKI).

Pallavicini agreed with Nayed in his attack on the baptism saying it put at risk the dialogue between Muslims and Christians.


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