Prominent Muslim becomes Catholic on Easter
March 23, 2008
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Italy’s most prominent Muslim commentator converted to Roman Catholicism on Saturday during the Vatican’s Easter vigil service presided over by the pope.
An Egyptian-born, non-practicing Muslim, Magdi Allam has infuriated some fellow Muslims with his criticism of extremism and support for Israel.
The deputy editor of the Corriere della Sera newspaper, Allam often writes on Muslim and Arab affairs.
He told the Il Giornale newspaper in a December interview that his criticism of Palestinian suicide bombings generated threats on his life in 2003, prompting the Italian government to provide him with a sizeable security detail.
Pope Benedict XVI baptized seven adults during the service.
It marks the period between Good Friday, which commemorates Jesus’ crucifixion, and Easter Sunday, which marks his resurrection.
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said of Allam before the service that anyone who chooses to become a Catholic of his or her own free will has the right to receive the sacrament.
Lombardi said the pope administers the sacrament “without making any ‘difference of people,’ that is, considering all equally important before the love of God and welcoming all in the community of the Church.”
The rest here.