Mario Scialoja

Rome's Envoy To Saudis Converts To Islam (11/27/01) The Italian envoy to Saudi Arabia became the second Italian Foreign Service officer in seven years to convert to Islam while being stationed in Saudi Arabia. Torquato Cardilli revealed his decision to Saudi newspapers Saturday, his 59th birthday. A graduate in oriental culture and languages from the University of Naples, Cardilli has spent much of his 33-year diplomatic career in the Muslim world. His official conversion was made on the eve of the Islamic holy fasting month of Ramadan, which began on November 16 in Saudi Arabia. Rome=92s previous ambassador to the Islamic kingdom, Mario Scialoja, converted to Islam in 1995 and is now head of Italy=92s Muslim League. This creates some problems for Italy. Italy a member of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic Taliban movement in Afghanistan. And only two months ago, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi offended the Muslim world by saying Western Christian civilization was superior to Islam.