New Italian party to defend Christian values


ROME (JTA) — A Muslim-born convert to Catholicism who has been honored by Jewish organizations has founded a new political party.

Egyptian-born journalist Magdi Allam, long a vocal critic of radical Islam a staunch supporter of Israel, announced Monday the formation of a party called Protagonists for Christian Europe that will run in European Parliament elections next summer.

Allam, who was baptized by Pope Benedict at Easter, told a news conference that the party will defend Christian values, particularly in the face of the spreading influence of Islam, which he called a "religion of violence."

Allam received the $1 million Dan David Award in Israel in 2006 and was honored last year by the American Jewish Committee.

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