March 24, 2008
“I realize what I am going up against but I will confront my fate with my head high, with my back straight and the interior strength of one who is certain
about his faith.”
— Magdi Christian Allam.
Some voices in Europe and other places are presently criticizing the pope for his high profile baptism of Magdi Allam at the Easter Vigil. They assert that the pope is somehow taunting Islam and unnecessarily putting Mr. Allam’s life in danger, and perhaps the pope’s as well. I cannot know the pope’s mind. But I would like to suggest why he might do something so dramatic and frankly foolish in the eyes of the world:
I think the pope is making all kinds of points.
He wants to uphold the example of this man who has stood up to Islam already for many years.
He also wants to make an issue of the Muslim practice of assassination of those who convert out of it. Imagine the shame heaped on Islam if Allam is killed.
He wants to show Muslims that reasonable and rational people, the very best of Islam are ashamed of what Islam has become.
He wants to make a point to sleepy Europeans that Christianity is a faith worth dying for.
He wants to give all the world an example of Christ-like willingness to die for the good, rather than to kill.
He wants the world to know that it is superior to suffer violence than to commit it.
He wants to show the world the moral and spiritual superiority of Christ and Christianity.
He wants to show the world that the willingness to innocently suffer violence for one’s faith is not reserved to the earliest ages, but is a very present reality.
He wants to highlight that Christians throughout the world willingly suffer violence for their faith every day.
He wants to bring about religious freedom, a true liberation of personal conscience in the lands of Islam.
He wants to give the Muslim world an example of Christian virtue that they will notice.
Should Mr. Allam or Benedict lose their lives, he would want to offer martyrs for the sake of the Muslim world.
Finally, Magdi Allam, now on the world stage, may be safer than if he had not been in the spotlight. Who knows?