Saturday, March 22, 2008

Pope Baptizes a Muslim

Pope baptizes prominent Italian Muslim

Article follows moderators comments;

Alhamdu Lillahi, praise the lord, (الْحَمْدُ للّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ 1:2) he knows and he is aware of every thing we do. He is the Malik-i-Yom-iddin, (مَـالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ 1:4) master of the day of the judgment.

We have several choices, and we need to evaluate the consequence of each choice.

i) We should not let his action have the capacity to irritate the weakest amongst us by reacting with vengeance. He wanted to choose another faith, let him. You cannot force any one to believe what one does not feel - Attempts to push him violates two basics - no oppression and no compulsion.

ii) Proclaim he is a bad guy - what good will it do?

iii) Issue a fatwa to kill him - This is where Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) wanted us to struggle (jihaad) against our base emotions of avenge and anger and win over them. Let's listen to the prophet and follow his guidance.

iv) Just do nothing, there are so many things happening in the world that needs our attention.

v) The more we re-act, the more they will be tempted to irritate us. I hope that is not what we want.

vi) Write in your own solution, solution must not create havoc, destruction and bad blood but bring peace - that is the name of our religion.

vii) Ignore and just live on your life.

Mike Ghouse
# # #

Pope baptizes prominent Italian Muslim
By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press Writer;_ylt=An.N8vVqFLLdc1KsIIjk5fBbbBAF

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."

As a choir sang, Pope Benedict XVI poured holy water over Allam's head and said a brief prayer in Latin.

"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."

Vatican Television zoomed in on Allam, who sat in the front row of the basilica along with six other candidates for baptism. He later received his first Communion.

Allam, 55, told the newspaper Il Giornale in a December interview that his criticism of Palestinian suicide bombing provoked threats on his life in 2003, prompting the Italian government to provide him with a sizable security detail.

The Union of Islamic Communities in Italy — which Allam has frequently criticized as having links to Hamas — said the baptism was his own decision.

"He is an adult, free to make his personal choice," the Apcom news agency quoted the group's spokesman, Issedin El Zir, as saying.

Yahya Pallavicini, vice president of Coreis, the Islamic religious community in Italy, said he respected Allam's choice but said he was "perplexed" by the symbolic and high-profile way in which he chose to convert.

"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," the ANSA news agency quoted Pallavicini as saying.

The nighttime Easter vigil service at St. Peter's Basilica marked the period between Good Friday, which commemorates Jesus' crucifixion, and Easter Sunday, which marks his resurrection.

Benedict opened by blessing a white candle, which he then carried down the main aisle of the darkened basilica. Slowly, the pews began to light up as his flame was shared with candles carried by the faithful, until the whole basilica twinkled and the main lights came on.

The pope administers baptism "without making any 'difference of people,' that is, considering all equally important before the love of God and welcoming all in the community of the Church," said the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi.

Allam, who has a young son with his Catholic wife and two adult children from a previous relationship, indicated in the Il Giornale interview that he would have no problem converting to Christianity. He said he had even received Communion once — when he was 13 or 14 — "even though I knew it was an act of blasphemy, not having been baptized."

He did not speak to the press Saturday and his newspaper said it had no information about his conversion.

Allam said in the interview that he had made a pilgrimage to Mecca, as is required of all Muslims, with his deeply religious mother in 1991, although he was not otherwise observant.

"I was never practicing," he was quoted as saying. "I never prayed five times a day, facing Mecca. I never fasted during Ramadan."

Allam also explained his decision to title a recent book "Viva Israele" by saying he wrote it after he received death threats from Hamas.

"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."

In 2006, Allam was a co-winner, with three other journalists, of the $1 million Dan David prize, named for an Israeli entrepreneur. Allam was cited for "his ceaseless work in fostering understanding and tolerance between cultures."

There is no overarching Muslim law on conversion. But under a widespread interpretation of Islamic legal doctrine, converting from Islam is apostasy and punishable by death — though killings are rare.

Egypt's highest Islamic cleric, the Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, wrote last year against the killing of apostates, saying there is no worldly retribution for Muslims who abandon their religion and that punishment would come in the afterlife.

On Wednesday, a new audio message from Osama bin Laden accused the pope of playing a "large and lengthy role" in a "new Crusade" against Islam that included the publication of drawings of the Prophet Muhammad that many Muslims found insulting.

Lombardi said Thursday that bin Laden's accusation was baseless. He said Benedict repeatedly criticized the Muhammad cartoons, first published in some European newspapers in 2006 and republished by Danish papers in February.

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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.