Converting out of Islam, by the Pope, this man is going to need secret service detail 24/7/365. G-d bless him and the work that he does. I love him.
Pope to Baptize Prominent Muslim NY POst hat tip Davida
VATICAN CITY (AP) - Italy's most prominent Muslim commentator is converting to Catholicism by being baptized by the pope at an Easter vigil, the Vatican announced Saturday. 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 bombing generated threats on his life in 2003, prompting the Italian government to provide him with a sizeable security detail.
Married to a Catholic, with a young son and two adult children from his first marriage, Allam indicated in the interview that he would have no problem converting to Christianity. He said he had even received Communion once - when he was 13 or 14 - "even though I knew it was an act of blasphemy, not having been baptized."
Allam also explained his decision to entitle a recent book "Viva Israel" or "Long Live Israel," saying he wrote it after he received death threats from Hamas.
"Having been condemned to death, I have reflected a long time on the value of life. And I discovered that behind the origin of the ideology of hatred, violence and death is the discrimination against Israel. Everyone has the right to exist except for the Jewish state and its inhabitants," he said. "Today, Israel is the paradigm of the right to life."
In 2006, Allam was a co-winner, with three other journalists, of the $1 million Dan David prize, named for the Israeli entrepreneur of the same name. Allam was cited for "his ceaseless work in fostering understanding and tolerance between cultures."