STOP HATRED, STOP TRYING TO DIVIDE; FOR A LONG LASTING PEACE, PROGRESS, AND PROSPERITY

 

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Pope provokes Muslim anger by baptising controversial journalist

Pope provokes Muslim anger

by baptising controversial journalist

Excerpts and my remarks put into Times Online

 

Magdi Allam, who converted to Catholicism from Islam, is baptised by Pope Benedict XV
Magdi Allam is baptised by Pope Benedict XVI

Richard Owen of The Times, in Rome 

Pope Benedict XVI has risked (more appropriate to use provoked) a renewed rift with the Muslim world by baptising a converted Muslim born journalist who describes Islam as intrinsically violent and characterised by “hate and intolerance” rather than “love and respect for others”.

In a surprise move at the Easter vigil at St Peter’s on Saturday night, the Pope baptised Magdi Allam, 55, an outspoken Egyptian-born critic of Islamic extremism and supporter of Israel.

Mr Allam’s conversion was kept secret until less than an hour before the service. He took the middle name “Christian” for his baptism.

After the baptism, the Pope said that faith “is a force for peace and reconciliation in the world: distances between people are overcome, in the Lord we have become close (in Christianity).”

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However the move revived memories of the Muslim fury which greeted Pope Benedict’s speech at Regensburg University in German in 2006 in which he branded Islam as inherently violent, inhumane and irrational by quoting a Byzantine emperor.

However, in a combative article for Corriere della Sera, the Italian paper of which he is a deputy editor, Mr Allam – who has lived in Italy most of his adult life and has a Catholic wife . . . .

Mr Allam, who was educated at a Salesian Catholic school in Egypt and was one of seven adults baptised during the Easter vigil, which is traditionally used for adult conversion ceremonies.

He said that by baptising him publicly the Pope had “sent an explicit and revolutionary message to a Church that until now has been too cautious in the conversion of Muslims because of the fear of being unable to protect the converted, who are condemned to death for apostasy”.

Muslim groups in Italy said Mr Allam would have done better to have undergone a low key conversion at a local parish. “What amazes me is the high profile the Vatican has given this conversion,” said Yaha Sergio Yahe Pallavicini, deputy head of the Italian Islamic Religious Community.

Today, Pope Benedict celebrated Easter Mass on St Peter’s Square, calling for an end to “(MUTUAL) injustice, (MUTUAL) hatred and (MUTUAL) violence.”

The Pope called for “solutions that will safeguard peace and the common good in Tibet, the Middle East and African regions such as Darfur and Somalia.

He deplored “the many wounds (including you, Pope, had inflicted now on Muslims) that continue to disfigure humanity in our own day. These are the scourges of humanity, open and festering in every corner of the planet, (at St Peter’s on Saturday night) , although they are often ignored and sometimes deliberately concealed; wounds (including this that Pope himself had inflicted) that torture the souls and bodies of countless of our brothers and sisters“.

He called for “an active commitment to justice (from your Christian point of view) in areas bloodied by conflict and wherever the dignity of the human person (dignity of Islam not included) continues to be scorned and trampled”.

Last week, the Pope broke his silence on Tibet, calling for for an end to violence and urging “dialogue and tolerance.” But Beijing brushed off the appeal, declaring there was “no tolerance for criminals, who will be punished by the law.” Neither the Easter message nor the Good Friday meditations specifically mentioned China, a reflection of the Vatican’s desire not to upset its dialogue with Beijing over the fate of the country’s Catholics.

 

Keep Tibet in the Spotlight

Calling All Bloggers:

Keep Tibet in the Spotlight

Posted on March 17, 2008 by chrismichael

Monks marching in the streets, students staging sit-in protests, midnight raids by the military, monasteries sealed off, towns and cities sealed off…this is Tibet. The most violent protests in nearly 20 years continue after last Monday’s pro-independence rallies commemorating the 49th anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s escape from Tibet. The Chinese government reports 16 people dead while the Tibetan Government in Exile, reports at least 80 deaths.

Watch videos of the protests here

International concern is growing as a result of house-to-house raids, imposed curfews, numerous arrests, and increased media repression.

The Chinese government has reportedly placed restrictions on international media coverage in Tibet, blocking or filtering websites like Yahoo! and YouTube and censoring the local feeds of news agencies including the BBC and CNN. However, first-hand accounts, photos, and videos (mostly from cellphones) are making their way out – and onto the Hub. We are collecting these videos on the Hub and linking the latest resources and urgent actions you can take here.

We’re working to feature the latest video, audio and photos coming out of Tibet and linking news updates, resources and urgent actions that concerned citizens can take – but we need your help!

Bloggers and vloggers, help us keep Tibet in the spotlight!

1) Post about Tibet and embed Tibet-related media from the Hub
2) Upload – if you have or see Tibet-related video, photos or audio that are not on the Hub, upload or embed it now, or email us at tibet@witness.org
3) Spread the Word – help us with our call for cellphone video and images from Tibet. Please help us by spreading the word and urging folks to email tibet@witness.org with their interviews, updates, video and photos. We’ll get them online – and ensure they stay online.

More coming soon…

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