On Monday 12th March 2007 I gave a talk to an assembled meeting of Presbyterian Ruling Elders from various congregations in Co Antrim in Northern Ireland. I chose to speak to them on the subject of ‘Islam’ as of course the Islamic presence in Northern Ireland is growing steadily. In November of this year (2008) I was once more in the company of one of the elders who had organised the invitation for me to speak and he told me that in the wake of my talk he had received a phone call from a female ‘ruling elder’ that had been in attendance at the meeting. She wanted to express her concern at the approach I had taken in my talk and felt that I was suffering from and promoting Islamophobia.
Perhaps she based her judgment on a view that I both hold and express to this effect – ‘Any religion that sanctions and uses violence to promote and spread its power and influence should be severely curtailed by legislation’. Leaving aside this lady’s obvious lack of Biblical knowledge and understanding as evidenced by her occupying a role [‘ruling elder’] that God’s Word makes abundantly clear is reserved for suitable men only she obviously has a similar lack of knowledge and understanding on the ‘intrinsic’ [According to ‘The Handy Dictionary’ this means ‘inherent, essential, real, genuine’] nature of the religion of Islam. This ‘intrinsic nature’ has been clearly revealed and expressed by a former Muslim-born journalist called Magdi Allam.
I first became aware of Magdi Allam around Easter of this year when it was reported by the Roman Catholic ZENIT news agency [Sunday 23rd March 2008] that on Saturday 22nd March 2008 he had been baptised into the Roman Catholic church by no less a person than Pope Benedict XVI himself. That report included details of a letter that Magdi Allam had written to the Director of an Italian newspaper called Corriere della Sera of which Magdi Allam was a deputy director. Herewith are some revealing and informative extracts from that letter –
That which I am about to relate to you concerns my choice of religious faith and personal life…Yesterday evening I converted to the Christian Catholic religion, renouncing my previous Islamic faith…I am especially grateful to his holiness Pope Benedict XVI, who imparted the sacraments of Christian initiation to me, baptism, confirmation and Eucharist, in the Basilica of St. Peter’s during the course of the solemn celebration of the Easter Vigil. And I took the simplest and most explicit Christian name: “Cristiano.” Since yesterday evening therefore my name is Magdi Crisitano Allam…At almost 56 […], it is a historical, exceptional and unforgettable event, which marks a radical and definitive turn with respect to the past…My conversion to Catholicism is the touching down of a gradual and profound interior meditation from which I could not pull myself away, given that for five years I have been confined to a life under guard, with permanent surveillance at home and a police escort for my every movement, because of death threats and death sentences from Islamic extremists and terrorists, both those in and outside of Italy. I had to ask myself about the attitude of those who publicly declared fatwas, Islamic juridical verdicts, against me…I asked myself how it was possible that those who, like me, sincerely and boldly called for a “moderate Islam…ended up being sentenced to death in the name of Islam on the basis of the Quran. I was forced to see that…the root of evil is inherent in an Islam that is physiologically violent and historically conflictive…Mine was a journey that began when at four years old, my mother Safeya — a believing and practicing Muslim…entrusted me to the loving care of Sister Lavinia of the Comboni Missionary Sisters…The long years at school allowed me to know Catholicism well…and I was especially fascinated by the human and divine figure of Jesus…on my arrival in Italy at the beginning of the 1970s…I went through a period of atheism…conversion to Christianity will certainly procure for me yet another, and much more grave, death sentence for apostasy…but I face my destiny with my head held high…I say that it is time to put an end to the abuse and the violence of Muslims who do not respect the freedom of religious choice. In Italy there are thousands of converts to Islam who live their new faith in peace. But there are also thousands of Muslim converts to Christianity who are forced to hide their faith out of fear of being assassinated by Islamic extremists who lurk among us…let us go forward on the way of truth, of life and of freedom…
The Asia Times carried a report of these events in their issue of 26th March 2008 and herewith are some extracts from that report –
‘A self-described revolution in world affairs has begun in the heart of one man. He is the Italian journalist and author Magdi Cristiano Allam, whom Pope Benedict XVI baptized during the Easter Vigil at St Peter’s. Allam’s renunciation of Islam as a religion of violence and his embrace of Christianity denotes the point at which the so-called global “war on terror” becomes a divergence of two irreconcilable modes of life: the Western way of faith supported by reason, against the Muslim world of fatalism and submission… Magdi Allam tells us that he has found the true God and forsaken an Islam that he regards as inherently violent… For years he was the exemplar of “moderate Islam” in Europe, and now he has decided that Islam cannot be “moderate”…Since September 2001, the would-be wizards of Western strategy have tried to conjure an “Islamic reformation”, or a “moderate Islam”, or “Islamic democracy”. None of this matters now, for as Magdi Allam tells us, the matter on the agenda is not to persuade Muslims to act like liberal Westerners, but instead to convince them to cease to be Muslims… There is no deference to mutual respect and multi-culturalism. Magdi Allam forsook Islam because he considers it to be “inherently evil”… “I was forced to see that… the root of evil is inherent in an Islam that is physiologically violent and historically conflictive… For my part, I say that it is time to put an end to the abuse and the violence of Muslims who do not respect the freedom of religious choice”… the global agenda has changed, not through the machinations of statesmen or the word-mincing of public intellectuals, but through the soul of a single man’.
It would be interesting to know if the female ‘ruling elder’ who criticised me of suffering from and promoting Islamophobia would level the same accusations against Magdi Allam. It is authoritatively revealing to read this assessment from one who was an insider as far as Islam is concerned and who has experienced at first hand the repercussions of what he describes as ‘the root of evil (that) is inherent in Islam’.
A few weeks after I gave this talk on Islam in Ballymena I attended a public meeting in Belfast on Thursday 29th March 2007 hosted by the Northern Ireland Interfaith Forum. This was how Alf McCreary referred it to in his Saturday column in the Belfast Telegraph of 24th March 2007 –
Lecture focuses on Islam
Dr Mamoun Mobayed, the chairman of the Northern Ireland Interfaith Forum will give a Queens University public lecture on Thursday at 7.15pm…His topic is titled – ‘No matter who you are Islam is already in your life’.
Right at the outset of his talk, Dr Mobayed [a psychiatrist] stated that he would not be dealing with the doctrinal and practical out workings of the religion of Islam but would rather be seeking to counter what he referred to as the ‘negative image of Islam’ that according to him had been portrayed in the Western world in recent years. By way of example he displayed an overhead showing an advertisement for a series of talks that had been given by Pastor David Legge, the then pastor of the Iron Hall in Belfast in which he had spoken on various cults and non-Christian religions and he had quite rightly included Islam in his series. On our website there is a link to enable people to listen to these talks and the link is http://www.preachtheword.com/studies/sscults.html
Mr Mobayed’s discomfort was occasioned by the title of the series – ‘Strongholds of Satan’.
Mr Mobayed then proceeded for an overly long period of time to cite examples under various headings where the lives and ways of many in the world have been influenced by discoveries made by and practices introduced by people who have been adherents of the religion of Islam. The reality is that whilst many in the world do feel an impact in daily living in areas such as in the home, in school, in hospital, in science, in art etc due to past discoveries of people who have been Muslims that does not equate to saying as the title of the lecture stated ‘No matter who you are Islam is already in your life’. Such a title was in effect quite disingenuous.
This reality was not lost on a Hindu gentleman in the audience for in the ‘Question and Answer/Feedback’ time at the end of the lecture he stated that he could have given a similar lecture highlighting the contribution to everyday living made in times past by knowledgeable Hindus but that did not mean ‘No matter who you are Hinduism is already in your life’. Another professedly Christian lady stated that she was very disappointed that Mr Mobayed had deliberately avoided addressing any Islamic doctrinal and practice issues and had in effect been engaged in a damage-limitation, whitewash exercise.
Near the end of the ‘feedback’ section another member of the Northern Ireland Interfaith Forum council, retired former Presbyterian [Crossgar] Minister and former Stranmillis College lecturer, Maurice Ryan, asked this question of Mr Mobayed – ‘When can we expect to see the Northern Ireland skyline be-graced with a Mosque?’ Mr Mobayed’s response to the question was that it was not a matter of ‘if’ but simply a matter of ‘when’ and that of course would depend very much on planning permissions and economics. Such naïveté and blindness from Mr Ryan and next day, having tracked down a telephone number for him I rang him and had quite a lengthy conversation with him. I then wrote to him next day [31st March] and herewith is the text of that letter –
Dear Mr Ryan,
Following on from our telephone conversation I would just like to make a few additional comments on a couple of points that you made.
You stated that tolerance was a ‘Christian virtue’. I would state, in the light of God’s Word, that Christians should never exercise tolerance, which is at the expense of God’s glory. Our God is never ‘tolerant’ when His glory is at stake.
The first commandment is ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before me’ – literally ‘in my presence or sight’ – and interfaith activity by professing Christians, whereby they ‘respect’ other faiths and claim that they contain divine truth, violates this first commandment. God’s ‘truth’ could be summed up by the old saying – ‘Ruined by the fall and redeemed by the blood’ and that truth is anathema to all the false religious cults and non-Christian religions that truly are, as the Iron Hall correctly advertised, ‘Strongholds of Satan’.
The Lord Jesus could say to His Father in John 17 that He had glorified Him on earth and that included incidents such as using a whip to drive out the money-changers from the temple and publicly identifying the false religious leaders of the day as being “of your father, the devil”. When it came to God’s glory Christ was totally intolerant and of course asserted that He alone was the way, the truth and the life and that no one could come to God except by Him. He pronounced that it was the strait and narrow way that led to life and not some broad interfaith highway that led to God.
God says in Isaiah “I am the Lord, that is my name, and my glory will I not give to another”. Professing Christians who participate in ‘the mutual-respect interfaith movement’ are giving God’s glory to other ‘gods’. They are affording divine ‘credibility’ to visible or mental dumb idol ‘gods’ and the Lord passes His verdict on such in Psalm 115. The only incarnate ‘truth’ was Jesus Christ and the only inscripturated ‘truth’ is the bible. There is a great gulf fixed between the ‘biblical gospel’ and the ‘Robert Runcie gospel’ that you have favourably quoted in times past and that I personally rebutted many years ago in the enclosed little booklet called ‘Syncretism’. Christians are not to ‘cultivate interfaith’ but to ‘contend earnestly for the faith’.
The second point is your obvious hope that Islam will establish and expand its presence in Northern Ireland, even to the point where in your own words ‘a mosque will be-grace the skyline of Northern Ireland’. You claim that you have been greatly influenced over many years by the moderation of the speaker at the recent lecture, Dr Mamoun Mobayed. On this matter of moderate Muslims, former Muslims, some of who have been gloriously converted to Christ would warn against such naïve and dangerous aspirations.
In 2006, in a letter that I had published in the Belfast Telegraph, I wrote the following
In his book “Why I Am Not a Muslim”, former Muslim Ibn Warraq wrote “There may be moderate Muslims, but Islam itself is not moderate. There is no difference between [the aims of] Islam and Islamic fundamentalism…Islamic fundamentalism has global aspirations [namely] the submission of the entire world to the all-embracing Shari’a, Islamic Law…designed to control every single act of all individuals.’
Honest public expression of this aspiration was voiced when Omar M. Ahmed, chairman of the board of CAIR [Council on American-Islamic Relations] said at a banquet, “I urge Muslims not to shirk their duty of sharing the Islamic faith with those who are on the wrong side….if you choose to live here [America], you have a responsibility to deliver the message of Islam. Islam isn’t here to be equal to any other faith but to become dominant”.
In a recently produced documentary one section deals with ‘The House of War’ and states “Islamic theology divides the world into two spheres locked in perpetual combat, dar al-Islam, House of Islam – where Islamic law predominates, and dar al-harb, House of War – the rest of the world. It is incumbent on dar al-Islam to fight and conquer dar al-harb and permanently assimilate it”.
The reality is that fundamentalist Islam is true Islam and, as regards Christians, the Koran is quite clear that those who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God are ‘liars’ [Sura 18:4-5] and that those who believe in The Trinity are not destined for ‘the garden’ [paradise/heaven] but for ‘the fire’ [hell] [Sura 5:72].
In 1980, the Islamic Council of Europe published a book called ‘Muslim Communities in Non-Muslim States’. The book set out very clearly the Islamic agenda for Europe. The strategy was that Muslims in European Nations should organise themselves into communities, setting up mosques, schools and Islamic centres. This would occur little by little until eventually entire European Nations would be turned into Islamic republics. This is clearly at the embryonic stage in Northern Ireland but is being aided greatly by groups such as your Interfaith Forum.
When that happens rest assured that the ‘role-models’ of the likes of Saudi Arabia, Indonesia or Uzbekistan will become nightmarish realities and ‘the troubles’ that [God willing] we have just passed through will seem like a ‘teddy-bear’s picnic’ in comparison to what will happen when Islam seeks to impose Shari’a law – if you don’t believe me just look at what is happening in Northern Nigeria, in the Darfur region of Sudan, in Egypt, in Somalia and in countless other places where ‘true’ Islam has grown in numbers, strength and influence.
Robert Spencer in his book on Islam wrote correctly that when Islam gains control in an area, the choices for unbelievers are either  Accept Islam or  Pay the jizya tax or  War against Islam – he then astutely and again correctly added ‘peaceful coexistence as equals in a pluralistic society isn’t one of the choices’.
In closing I would refer to our brief discussion on Romanism and it has been responsible, more than any other so-called ‘Christian’ grouping, for failing to inform Muslims of the truth of the glorious Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. I sought to redress that deception by publishing a special leaflet for Muslims and a copy is enclosed herewith for your consideration.
My closing wish is that the Spirit of truth will touch your heart and mind and understanding for the good of yourself, those taken captive by Satan in false religions and cults and supremely for the glory of the One true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
In this letter I made refernce to a ‘documentary’ – it is a DVD called ‘Islam: What the West Needs to Know’ and I would encourage as many people as possible to obtain and view this DVD. It can be purchased via either of these links –
One of the producers of this documentary was Gregory Davis and in a book that he subsequently wrote called ‘Religion of Peace? Islam’s War Against The World’ he wrote the following on pages 130-131
‘The West must awaken to the fact that it is facing nothing less than the resurgence of the greatest war machine in world history; an ideology that holds the killing of others, the plundering of their wealth, the conquering of their lands, the enslavement of their people, and the destruction of their institutions to be amongst the highest virtues and the stepping stones to salvation…Yet it seems that the secular West today is determined not to hear the bad news…It is hoping that the myriad acts of violence around the world done in the name of Allah [remember recent events in Mumbai/Bombay in India!]are somehow not indicative of “real” Islam…It is hoping that Islam – a religion founded by one of history’s great warlords; a religion that waged wars of aggression and conquest for a thousand years, that slaughtered and enslaved untold millions and invented modern genocide, and that today is the only force in the world that produces terrorism, suicide bombings, hostage-taking, organised rape and massacres on a global scale – that this strange, seething, violent mass is somehow “a religion of peace”. Rejecting this fiction and standing up to be counted will determine whether or not we [Non-Muslim/Infidels] survive the twenty-first century’.
In the light of the testimony of former Muslim, Magdi Allam, to the intrinsic evil root of Islam, in the light of the many warnings issued by former Muslims in the DVD documentary ‘Islam: What the West Needs to Know’ and in the light of the stark, realistic warning issued by Gregory Davis in his book ‘Religion of Peace? Islam’s War Against The World’ I most certainly reject the accusation of being one who is ‘suffering from and promoting Islamophobia’ and I would encourage God’s people to seek to alert those with influence in our nation to the true nature of Islam and to urge them to take action to ensure the peace and security of the non-Muslim peoples of these lands.
In conclusion I would also say that whilst these honest revelations by Magdi Allam on the intrinsic nature of Islam are most welcome and informative it is nonetheless a matter of the utmost tragedy that having recognised the evil nature of one totalitarian religious ideology, Islam, and having separated himself from it he has now ensnared himself with another equally totalitarian and soul-damning religious system, that of Roman Catholicism. I did send an email to a website linked with Mr Allam, but whether it ever arrived with him, or whether he was able to read it or have it translated into Italian I don’t know but we should pray that God in His grace and mercy might bring Mr Allam to a true saving knowledge of the real Jesus Christ of the Bible.
Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries – 27th December 2008
APPENDIX – 30 March 2013
The Vatican’s efforts to reconcile with the Islamic world have not been welcomed by all. Italy’s most famous Muslim convert to Catholicism, Magdi Allam, announced last week he was leaving the church because of its “soft” stance on Islam. Allam was baptized by Benedict XVI in 2008 during the high-profile Easter Vigil service when the pope traditionally baptizes a handful of adults.
There has been no Vatican comment on his about-face.” I recall when news of this man’s ‘conversion’ to Christianity was announced I immediately thought ‘great’ but I was then disappointed to learn that he had become a Roman Catholic and not a Christian.
Please pray that the Lord is really working in the heart and mind of Magdi Allam and that in the providence of God he might encounter genuine Christians of which of course there are small pockets dotted throughout Italy such as the fellowship of Antonio De Noia (former Roman Catholic) who spoke in our church recently.
In the final paragraph of my original article I lamented the fact that Magdi Allam had converted to Roman Catholicism, mistakenly thinking that it was ‘Christian’. Then in my 2013 APPENDIX I reported how he had publicly announced that he was severing any ties he had with Roman Catholicism and you can read fuller details of how he came to that decision by going to this link –
In conclusion, I would again urge people to pray for this man that God, in mercy, will bring him to a true, saving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries – 6th June 2017