Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Magdi Allam on Life and Death Cultures - John Allen

John Allen reports in the National Catholic Reporter on Magdi Allam. Below are a few excerpts.

His most recent book is titled Viva Israele, in which Allam argues that Israel represents a culture of life, in contrast with militant Islam’s culture of death. Allam minces no words in making the point. In a recent interview with an Israeli news agency, for example, Allam was asked about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. His lapidary response: “I hope that someday Israel will capture Ahmadinejad and force him to live the rest of his life between the walls of Yad Vashem.”


Among other things, Allam called upon Italian universities that have signed agreements for cultural collaboration with Al-Azhar to renounce them. One of those institutions is the Pontifical Oriental Institute, which is affiliated with the Gregorian University, the Jesuit-run flagship pontifical university in Rome.

His willingness to take such bold public positions has made Allam a sign of division in both the Muslim and Catholic worlds. Among Muslim radicals he’s seen as a traitor, one sign of which is that Allam is always surrounded by a phalanx of bodyguards.

Among moderates in both the Muslim and Catholic camps, meanwhile, Allam is often seen as a provocateur, painting anyone who expresses sympathy with the Palestinians or with other Islamic causes as a dupe of the terrorists.


In Viva Israel, Allam recounts growing up as a convinced supporter of the Palestinian cause, believing that Israel was a racist state invented by the West as a compensation for the Holocaust. What turned him around, he wrote, was getting to know Yasser Arafat, which convinced him of the bankruptcy of terrorism.
For the whole article, click here.

For more information on Magdi Allam, go here, here, or here.

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