In National Review today I discuss the conversion of Magdi Allam:
Italy”s leading Muslim writer has become a Catholic. As Pope Benedict XVI baptized Magdi Allam during an Easter service at the Vatican, the glare of international publicity annoyed at least one Muslim, Yahya Sergio Yahe Pallavicini, vice president of Coreis, the Italian Islamic Religious Community. He told reporters: “What amazes me is the high profile the Vatican has given this conversion. Why could he have not done this in his local parish? . . . If Allam truly was compelled by a strong spiritual inspiration, perhaps it would have been better to do it delicately, maybe with a priest from Viterbo where he lives.”
Why should the exercise of a basic human right, the freedom of conscience, be a matter for delicacy? In voicing this complaint Pallavicini raised yet again the Islamic-supremacist specter that increasingly haunts Europe “” for in traditional Islamic law, Christians in the Islamic state must be unobtrusive and submissive, eschewing bells, processions, and other public displays, and remaining private and unostentatious in their religious observances, so as to avoid offend the delicate sensibilities of Muslims. In suggesting that Allam would have done better to convert somewhere away from the flashbulbs and microphones, Pallavicini suggests that all this is part of his own mental baggage: In a perfect world, Christians may practice their faith, but they must do so out of sight.
The new convert himself, an editorial writer and deputy editor at the Italian daily Corriere della Sera and for years a vociferous critic of the jihad ideology and Islamic supremacism, might agree that this is indeed part of the attitude that Islamic sharia law can inculcate in its adherents. “Over the years,” he wrote trenchantly about Islam in a letter to Corriere della Sera, “my spirit has been freed from the obscurantism of an ideology that legitimizes lies and deception, violent death that leads to homicide and suicide, blind submission to tyranny.”
Read it all, over at NR.