Pope's baptism of Muslim is questioned in Italy

Leaders shocked by event's high profile
Pope Benedict XVI’s baptism of an Egyptian-born formerly Muslim Italian journalist, known for being a strident critic of restrictions on religious freedom in Islamic countries, has been questioned by Muslim leaders in Italy.

Magdi Allam, a columnist and deputy editor of the Milan-based Corriere della Sera newspaper, was one of seven people from five countries baptized by the pontiff at the Easter Vigil Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on March 22.

“What shocked me is the high profile the Vatican gave to the conversion,” said Yaha Sergio Pallavicini, vice president of the Religious Islamic Community, one of Italy’s Muslim groups. He questioned why Allam had not been baptized in Viterbo, the city north of Italy where the journalist lives.


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