Magdi Allam is a leading Muslim commentator in Italy. He has written what I consider to be a major editorial for an Italian national newspaper, "Corriere della Sera". You will find below my probably flawed, non-professional translation of his editorial. The Italian original itself wasn't gramatically perfect. At the end is a link to the editorial (in the original Italian) on the web.
UPDATE (17 September). The Italian newspaper has now provided an English translation. I have used it to adjust one or two words in my translation below. The newspaper's own translation had a couple of minor translation inaccuracies. I find that my translation is more literal.
SECOND UPDATE (September 17). The pope has now personally and publicly expressed his sorrow and reiterated the clarification of his intentions. I have posted his Italian original and my translation which can both be read by clicking on:
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15 September 2006THE TRUTH OF HISTORY
Muslims against the Pope, “He has offended us, let him ask pardon”by
Magdi AllamIt is desolating and preoccupying to see Muslims
who have given life to a unified international front to attack the Pope and demand public apologies. From Bin Laden to the Muslim Brotherhood, from Pakistan to Turkey, from Al Jazeera to Al Arabiya, there has risen anew the widespread and universal alliance that first emerged on the occasion of the events surrounding the cartoons about Mohammed. It testifies, in an unequivocal manner, that the root of the evil is a blind ideology of imperious hatred among Muslims, one that violates the faith and darkens the mind. Why is it that Muslims, especially the so-called moderates, never stand up with similar and as much enthusiasm against the true and perpetual profaners of Islam, the Islamic terrorists who massacre Muslims themselves in the name of the same God, the Islamic extremists who legitimize the destruction of Israel and inculcate faith in the so-called Islamic “martyrdom”, while in the meantime they feel themselves dutybound to promote a sort of Islamic “holy war” against the head of the Catholic Church who legitimately expresses his evaluations concerning Islam, with respect but with just as much clarity about the diversity that naturally exists between the two religions? The considerations referred to by the Pope, citing the Byzantine emperor Manuel Paleologus II, concerning the spread of Islam by the sword, whether on the part of Mohammed within the Arabian Peninsula or on the part of his successors in the rest of the world (with just a few exceptions), are an incontrovertible historical fact. Testimony to the fact comes from the Koran itself, from the reality that the entire Byzantine empire to the East and South of the Mediterranean fell to Islam, and from the reality of the successive [Muslim
] expansion northward into Europe and eastward into Asia.To deny the historical reality is simply foolish,
and it can generate nothing but foolishness. I recall that one of the most notable contemporary Islamologists, the Egyptian Mohammad Said El Eshmawi, said to me in the mid-nineties that he simply did not sympathize with the military conquest carried out by the Arab tribes in the Christian lands of the Mediterranean, and that he would have preferred to have had Islam spread peacefully as came about in Southeast Asia. And now the Pope is being punished and threatened for having said what every honest and rational Muslim should accept: the historical reality. The lesson to draw is that the West and Christianity ought to stop considering themselves to be the cause of everything that followed, whether good or bad, within Islam and in the rest of the world. The ideology of hatred is an ancestral reality that exists in the heart of Islam from its very beginnings, because of the refusal to recognize and respect the plurality of the physiological religious communities, and given the subjectivity of the relationship between the believer and God, and the absence of a single spiritual reference point that embodies the absoluteness of the dogmas of faith. And it is a reality that, beginning with the defeat of the Arab armies in the war of 5 June 1967, it [the ideology of hatred
] has undergone an unstoppable upsurge parallel to the growth of the power of the Islamic extremists from Iran to Indonesia. It has ended up flowing into the current of globalized Islamic terrorism, that has transformed the West itself into a “kamikaze factory”.This is the tragic reality of the ideology of hatred
that is succeeding in solidifying the consensus among all those Muslims whose minds are clouded by being anti-American, anti-West, and by prejudiced hostility to the right of Israel to exist. The pretexts that can set off their fury change, from the Israeli occupation to the American war, from the Mohammed cartoons to the declarations of the Pope. But the problem is entirely internal to an Islam transformed by the extremists from a faith in God into an ideology bent on imposing a theocratic and totalitarian power upon all those who are not in their image and likeness. And it frightens me to note that even the so-called moderate Muslims have renounced the prudence of reason, and have aligned themselves with the “holy war” of which they will be the principal victims.- - -
The Italian original is online.