Israel's right to exist basic tenet of new Italian party

Magdi Allam founds new political party to run in next summer's European Parliament elections.

magdi allam 248 88 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
magdi allam 248 88 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
Magdi Allam, an Egyptian-born Italian journalist and writer of Muslim origin who was baptized by Pope Benedict XVI last Easter, said Sunday that he has founded a political party that will run in next summer's European Parliament elections. Allam said his "Protagonists for Christian Europe" party would work to defend Europe's Christian values, which he sees as being threatened by secularism and moral relativism. While the name of the new party conveys an impression of a rightist, traditionalist front, beneath the surfaces lies the authentic Magdi Allam - the Magdi Allam who was honored two years ago by Israel, and in the US by the American Jewish Committee, for his book, Viva Israele! ("Long live Israel"). "Israel's right to exist" is a basic tenet of Allam's political ideology that derives from his belief in the religious principle of "the sacredness of life." The 56-year-old says that even the current violence in India is the result of total disregard for these principles. Another pillar of Allam's program is "the historic truth of the Judeo-Christian roots of Europe" which assimilated "all that is positive and constructive" in Greek, Roman, secular and Liberal thought. According to Allam, two destructive forces now threaten European civilization. One is an absence of ethical values in a "savage capitalism that ignores human rights, paradoxically emulating today's Communist China." The other is, quite straightforwardly, Islam - which he defines as a "religion of violence." Alongside Islam he places Europeans' "Islamically correct" behavior, nihilism, and multiculturalism, as expressed by the cultural relativism of values that should, instead, be absolute. "I am against Islam, but not against Muslims" he is quick to add. "I want no war of civilizations, but rather to build a society where all human rights, including the freedom of religion, are respected." Allam criticized a Vatican document issued jointly by Catholic and Muslim participants in an interreligious summit in Rome last November 9. The document recognizes Muhammad as "an illuminated prophet." "How can we call Muhammad illuminated when his hands were soaked in the blood of 700 Jewish males slain in the year 627," Allam asks. "And since Islam considers the Koran, which incites to violence, the Word of God, how can we place hopes in a reformed, moderate Islam?" Allam's stance is close to that of Benedict XVI, who recently stated that there should be "dialogue between cultures" but "there can be no dialogue between religions." Above all, Allam warns that Europe's well-intentioned overtures to Islam (citing as an example, the UK's legitimizing of Shariah courts) are turning Europe into an ideological vacuum that can be filled by whichever group bargains most loudly. Wherever he moves, Allam is surrounded by security guards because of repeated death threats against him by radical Islamist groups. But this is something he takes in his stride. "Fear for my life has never conditioned my moral choices," he says. AP contributed to this report