Pope baptizes prominent Italian Muslim

A pontiff even the atheists can love. InstaGlenn’s got the right read here, although flipping Osama the bird’s only part of it. Benedict’s playing an interesting game with the Muslim world, equal parts outreach and antagonism, which I suppose is his way of trying to coax them towards tolerance. Surely a man who’d hold interfaith talks at the Vatican can be forgiven the occasional baptism of an apostate, can’t he? It’s all part of the “understanding” process.

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…

Reaction to Allam’s conversion was largely muted from Italy’s Muslim community.

The Union of Islamic Communities in Italy — which Allam has frequently criticized as having links to Hamas — said the baptism was a personal choice.

“He is an adult, free to make his personal choice,” the Apcom news agency quoted the group’s spokesman, Issedin El Zir, as saying.

Wait ’til the Pope’s new Wahhabist friends hear. Exit question: Does this mean it’s ix-nay on those urches-chay?