Italy’s most prominent Muslim commentator is converting to Catholicism by being baptized by the pope at an Easter vigil, the Vatican announced Saturday.
Magdi Allam is the deputy editor of the Corriere della Sera newspaper and writes often on Muslim and Arab affairs. Born in Egypt, he has described himself as a non-practicing Muslim. He has long spoken out against extremism and in favor of tolerance.
Pope Benedict XVI was baptizing seven adults during the service, which 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.