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.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:
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."
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:
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.
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.
Technorati Tag: Magdi Allam.