“Let's Save the Christians” Demonstration in Rome on July 18
by Enza Ferreri
On July 18th the national demonstration “Salviamo i Cristiani” (Let's Save the Christians), organized by the Association by the same name, will be held in Rome. The city's Mayor Gianni Alemanno will also attend.
A similar protest on July 4th 2007, against the rising violence against Christians in Iraq and other Muslim-majority countries, had been organized in Rome by the former Muslim human rights campaigner Magdi Cristiano Allam who, along with his wife Valentina Colombo, will be a speaker at SION's International Freedom Defense Congress in New York on September 11. That demo saw the participation of the then Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the Muslim MP Souad Sbai, Rome's Jewish Community representative Riccardo Pacifici, and about a hundred members of the Italian Parliament of various political orientations.
Italy has been one of the Western countries that has shown most concern about the tragic situation of Christians in the Islamic world.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini requested a discussion of the persecution of Christians at the 31 January 2011 meeting of the European Union Foreign Ministers Council which eventually produced a public denunciation. Frattini also intervened in Pakistan by holding discussions with its President Zardari and by giving speeches to call off the execution of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman condemned to death for blasphemy, and to open up a debate on the law against blasphemy in that country, a tool used to persecute religious minorities there.
In 2011, rallies were held by the Copts of Italian cities, including Milan and Turin, with some supporting Italian organizations, to ask for action against the violence of Islamofascists against Egyptian Christians. And Italian lawmakers, Catholic and Jewish associations, human rights group Amnesty International and representatives of the Pakistani community in Italy protested in Rome against Pakistan’s blasphemy law, calling for the release of Asia Bibi.
Considering the vastness of the problem these may be drops in the ocean, but I have lived in London since 1984 and I have never seen such a display of support.
The UK's Pakistani community is more likely, if anything, to protest against the Christians who broke the anti-blasphemy law in Pakistan than for them.
Interestingly, the focus of the upcoming demonstration on July 18 is not just about the persecution of Christians in Third World countries but is more inclusive, claiming to be "against the growing discrimination, persecution, massacres towards Christians" but without giving a geographical qualification. Could this be in response to warnings of rising intolerance and violence against Christians in Europe?
The author Silvana De Mari, secretary of the association which with Magdi Cristiano Allam organizes the protest, says: "We must save the Christians, do all we can for Israel which is under a nuclear threat, and create for men and women born into Islam an escape route from a terrifying theocracy. I'm sure that we'll make it and that Wednesday’s demonstration will be attended by lots and lots of people."
Magdi Cristiano Allam has always been at the centre of these and other counterjihadist efforts. He is a prominent figure in Italian public life, having been the deputy editor of one of the country's major newspapers, Corriere della Sera. His conversion from Islam to Christianity in 2008 hit the headlines, and he received Baptism, Confirmation and Communion in St Peter's Basilica from Pope Benedict XVI.
Allam's organization, Io Amo L'Italia, has a website, on which his wife Valentina Colombo writes a section on Islam.
"The only good Muslims are ex-Muslims", I once read in a comment to a blog post.
I do not know if this is entirely true and, certainly, sweeping generalizations are always difficult to make.
But, as Robert Spencer has always said, Muslims who see and accept what is wrong with their religion and either abandon it (and survive) or start a serious reform of it are the natural allies of people who want to save the West from civilizational extinction, not the "moderate" Muslims.
The fact that often these very perceptive Muslims or former Muslims know Islam from within, have had free access to its doctrines without attempts of cover-up, and have suffered on their skin the consequences of its teachings can give them an extra dimension to pure theoretical understanding - although Western critics of Islam have also had ample opportunities to experience the results of the spread of the "religion of peace" by now, thanks to their countries' open-door immigration policies.
Enza Ferreri is an Italian-born, London-based author and journalist. She has been a London correspondent for several Italian magazines and newspapers, including Panorama, L'Espresso, La Repubblica.