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A new “Salman Rushdie” in Italy?

Magdi Allam, 55, the Egyptian-born deputy chief editor of Italy’s most influential newspaper, Il Corriere della Sera, has received a wave of death threats following the publication of his book, Viva Israele (Long Live Israel).

The Jordanian-based pan-Arab publication Al-Bawaba reports:

Viva Israele is the tale of Allam’s life ever since his youth under the republican regime of late Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser. According to Allam, Nasser is responsible for having turned Egypt – and the rest of the Arab world – into the cradle of the “ideology of death”. Allam claims Nasser brought about an aggressive pan-Arabic dream based on the denial of Israel’s right to exist. The need for the destruction of Israel is the dominant theme that, Allam states, made death and destruction the core values of a once liberal Islamic culture.
Thus, the new book defends the existence of Israel and terms armed Palestinian groups as “dangerous terrorist threats.” In addition, Allam wrote that during their operations in the Palestinian territories, Israeli forces have been trying to avoid hitting Palestinian civilians and only aim to defend Israeli citizens.
Allam added that the main cause for the Israeli–Palestinian dispute stems from the Palestinian terror… Allam also slams the Arab calls for the killing of Jews.

Allam, who was raised as a Muslim and attended the Italian school of Cairo, was previously an enthusiastic activist for the Palestinian cause, but changed his mind following a meeting with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat:

“Arafat was responsible for Palestinian terrorism,” he wrote, and that “the predication of the ideology of death eventually hit and harmed the Palestinians themselves.”

Al-Bawaba says that Saudi media reported that following threats to Allam’s life by Italian Muslims, who have denounced him as the new “Salman Rushdie,” the Italian police have intensified their round-the-clock security escort of Allam.

Tom GrossTom Gross is a former Middle East correspondent for the London Sunday Telegraph and the New York Daily News.

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