Morning Report: March 24, 2008

Morning Report is back in action. Today's report salutes Magdi Allam for exercising his freedom of thought, conscience, and spirit.

Magdi Allam embraces Roman Catholic Christianity in Easter ceremony. Michael Ledeen:
My friend Magdi Allam, the deputy editor of the Italian newspaper il Corriere della Sera, has converted from Islam to Catholicism and was baptized the night before Easter in a service conducted by the pope in St. Peter’s in Rome. It’s a courageous act, but then Magdi Allam is a brave man. His outspoken criticism of Italian Muslim radicals–especially their support for the Muslim Brotherhood and for Hamas–had already produced threats to his life several years ago, and, ever since, the Italian Government has protected him, his home, and his Italian wife Valentina. The increasingly sloppy Andrew Sullivan calls on his readers to pray for Magdi, who Sullivan says is NOW at risk, when in fact he is accompanied by carabinieri whenever he moves around Rome, and his house is under constant surveillance. So far as I know, no attempt on his life has been made. But, like Salman Rushdie and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, he is precisely the sort of elegant, sophisticated and thoughtful person that sets the Islamic fundamentalists’ teeth on edge.

He has long spoken on behalf of moderate Muslims, and greatly admires Pope Benedict XVI for his courage in simultaneously criticizing the lack of Muslim toleration and openness to human reason. And he incurred the wrath of both leftists and Muslims when he wrote a best-seller entitled “Viva Israele!” ...

Read the rest at the link.

Meanwhile, in Egypt. Sandmonkey covers Christian conversions in Egypt.
While it is illegal to do so, there are evangelical forces operating in Egypt to convert Muslims to Christianity. The two very famous ones are the Protestant Qasr El Dobara church in downtown Egypt, and the Coptic St. Mark Church in Shobra. Qasr El Dobara does good old evanagelism through usually really good sermons, and if you ever go there, you would find that the first 3 rows usually have Hijabis in them. It is rumored that Muslim Evangelist Superstar Amr Khaled actually spent 2 years attending the Qasr ElDobara services in order to learn the ins and outs of evangelistic speeching. One of m christian friends once told me that when he first heard Amr Khaled he thought it was one of Qasr El Dobara's tapes. But that's not our Story. Our Story has to do with St. Mark's church.

You see, St. Mark, on the other hand, doesn't really count on sermons: they convert through exorcisms. Yep, that's right. Exorcisms. I once saw a video of one of his conversions (By the way, there is a whole underground thing with movies and plays in the egyptian coptic community. Forbidden plays, testimonials of the recently converted, and tons of other stuff. And they usually don't share them. Hmmph.. Copts are no fun!) where he did the exorcism on a muslim boy, and then told him to do the mark on the Cross on his chest, and when the boy refused, Makari [Father Makari Yunan] told him that he should do it, because it was Jesus who kicked the demon out, and then left the boy's side, who eventually, and kind of defeatedly, ended up doing the mark of the cross to joyous applause from the congregation. And stuff like this supposedly happens, like, every week.

Go to Sandmonkey's post for a link to the AFP story.

Second thoughts on Egypt strike. Also from Sandmonkey, we read about a political protest organized by Kifaya (Egyptian reformist party). Sandmonkey is cool with the agenda as far as ending police torture and providing a living wage for workers. But he's not so sure about some of the fine print. 'So the campaign is for our borders to be breached and our soldiers attacked, the end of peace with Israel, and in support of the Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah. Al Qaida and Muqtada's Al Sadr's militia? A7a!! Really? Seriously? Fuck that. I ain't playing with those assholes.' Read it all at the link.

SKF is back. Morning Report welcomes Shiro-Khorshid Forever back after a hiatus. If you haven't already, please consider bookmarking this site, as it's a great resource for Iran-related news. Most recently, here's a transcript of the President Bush interview on Radio Farda.

Commentary. With various projects under construction in my personal life (including having undertaken two computer programming courses), I've been pretty busy. But I anticipate a return to regular posting this week. Stay tuned.