Ah, here's one... and a very powerful and articulate one at that: Magdi Allam (pictured right) is an Egyptian-born Moslem, raised in Italy, and one of the leading journalists in Italy today. Deputy Editor of Corriere della Sera, one of Italy's leading newspapers, and an Arab and Islamic affairs commentator, he's an author as well as a prolific journalist and editor. Allam has consistently spoken out against extremism and in favour of tolerance and is one of the leaders in the fight for coexistence between civilizations. He has said: "A positive dialogue with moderate Islam is both possible and necessary". How tragic that he's so notable for having said such an obvious thing.
The Historical Truth
By Magdi Allam in the Corriere della Sera (September 15, 2006)The search for rational, reasonable Moslem voices goes on. But this one needs to get circulated far and wide.
It is sad and worrying that Muslims have given birth to an international united front to attack the Pope and ask for public apologies. From Bin Laden to the Muslim Brotherhood, from Pakistan to Turkey, from al-Jazeera to al-Arabiya, the transversal and universal alliance, which has already come into being following the Danish cartoons affair, has reappeared, reaffirming very clearly that the root of evil is like a blind and prevailing ideology which outrages the faith and darkens the minds of many Muslims.
Why do not Muslims, especially the so-called moderates, react with such strength and intensity against the real and eternal desecrators of Islam that is, the Islamic terrorists who kill other Muslims in the name of the same God, radical Muslims who legitimize the destruction of Israel and brainwash ordinary Muslims into martyrdom? Why do they now believe they must start a kind of Islamic "holy war" against the head of the [Catholic] Church who has the right to respectfully express his views about Islam, all the while with clarity on the evident difference between the two religions?
The pope's quoting the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus, regarding the expansion of Islam through the sword, either during the time of Mohammed and on the Arab Peninsula and after him, elsewhere, underlines an undeniable historical truth. The Quran itself states it; furthermore, the forced conversion of the entire Byzantine Empire, to Islam in the East and South of Mediterranean, and the further expansion northwards in Europe and Eastwards in Asia, demonstrates the point made by the Byzantine Emperor.
It is foolish to deny the truth, as it can only cause deranged reaction. In the mid-Nineties one of the most prominent scholars of Islamic studies, the Egyptian Mohammed said al-Ashmawi, told me that he did not approve the Arab tribes' military conquest of Christian lands in the Mediterranean and that he would have preferred Islam to expand peacefully, like it did in South-Eastern Asia.
The Pope is threatened because he has said things that every single honest and rational Muslim should accept: the historical truth.
Time has come for both the West and Christianity to stop thinking that they are the source of all that happens good or evil within Islam as well as around the world. The ideology of hate is an ancestral reality at the core of Islam; it has been so since its inception, due to its' refusal to recognize and respect the plurality of religious communities a natural thing since in Islam the relationship between the believer and God is personal and there is no unique spiritual guide who embodies the absolute dogmas of faith. In fact, since the defeat of the Arab armies in the June 5th, 1967 war, the situation has been worsening while Islamic extremism has been on the rise starting from Iran to Indonesia, to the point where the advance of global Islamic terrorism has turned the West into a "Kamikaze factory".
This is the tragic truth of the ideology of hate which binds all Muslims who are obsessed with anti-Americanism, anti-West and the prejudicial denial of Israel's right to exist. They are able to find many pretexts to rage from Israeli occupation, to the U.S.-led coalition into Iraq, to the cartoons about Mohammed and even the Pope's words. Nevertheless the problem is at the root of Islam itself, an Islam which extremists turned from a faith in God into an ideology aiming for a theocratic and totalitarian order to impose on everyone who is not like them. And I am really scared when I realize that even the so-called moderates have given in to a "holy war" where they will be the primary victims.