Jewish Right To Israel

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

How Do Muslims Deal With Voluntary Conversions?

Especially when the person voluntarily converting is one of their own:
Italy's most prominent Muslim commentator, a journalist with iconoclastic views such as support for Israel, converted to Roman Catholicism Saturday when the pope baptized him at an Easter service.

As a choir sang, Pope Benedict XVI poured holy water over Magdi Allam's head and said a brief prayer in Latin.

"We no longer stand alongside or in opposition to one another," Benedict said in a homily reflecting on the meaning of baptism. "Thus faith is a force for peace and reconciliation in the world: distances between people are overcome, in the Lord we have become close."
Muslims may not take as cheerful a view as Pope Benedict, but overall those interviewed seem to have dealt with the conversion. But this comment was interesting:

Yahya Pallavicini, vice president of Coreis, the Islamic religious community in Italy, said he respected Allam's choice but said he was "perplexed" by the enormously symbolic and high-profile way in which he chose to convert.

"If Allam truly was compelled by a strong spiritual inspiration, perhaps it would have been better to do it delicately, maybe with a priest from Viterbo where he lives," the ANSA news agency quoted Pallavicini as saying.

Perhaps Pallavicini has forgotten about the last 'high-profile' conversion in the news--when Fox News journalists Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig were kidnapped in 2006 and forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint and make a video proclaiming their conversion:
Unfortunately, the video has been taken off YouTube, but you can see the clip from Fox News Sunday (on Hot Air) where Centanni confirms, about halfway through the clip, that they were coerced.

The AP article is charitable on the Muslim law for those who convert out of Islam:
There is no overarching Muslim law on conversion. But under a widespread interpretation of Islamic legal doctrine, converting from Islam is apostasy and punishable by death—though killings are rare.
So much for delicacy.

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