Khalid, I couldn't agree with you more because upon a little searching, I found some very interesting information concerning Allam's "baptism" by the Pope and the process which led to this very high profile event.
In this modern time of centuries old religious strife between the three great Abrahamic faiths, it is often considered an affront to the religion one has left behind when converting to a different faith. The case of Magdi Allam goes much further though than simply leaving his former faith, Islam, to convert to Catholicism. Magdi Allum is a VERY strident critic of Islam as well as newly ardent supporter of the state of Israel. A simple synopsis of this man's changing colors can be read HERE on Wikipedia.
Now, since I am a recent convert to Catholicism myself, and AMICABLY divorced from a Muslim with a Muslim born daughter whom we lovingly share, I am extremely curious about Allum's so called "conversion". Personally, it took me MANY years, til the age of 49 to be precise, to choose to be baptized. After my divorce I attended several churches. But each one I eventually walked out of because of their statement that one would only go to heaven if one believed in Christ as savior. When I was young, the church I attended most regularly with friends was the Catholic Church. When approaching the time that we were going to place my second daughter (from my second marriage) in a Catholic high school, I decided after many years of non-church attendance to start attending mass. I felt quite comfortable there and decided to look in to becoming a Catholic. But one thing was VERY important to me, and that was having a conversation with my would be priest about my acceptance of Islam as a valid and beautiful faith. So we sat down, and he said this to me, "You can never convince me that people of other faiths such as Islam will not go to heaven because they do not accept that Christ is our savior. If they follow their own faith faithfully, they too will receive their time in heaven".
Now that might seem like a round about way of saying something, but I had MY priest to be tell ME something that I NEEDED to hear in order to join that faith. Why did I need this? Because it is my own personal spiritual belief and never in a million years would I join a faith which condemned Islam. What the Vatican states is neither here nor there to me. I KNOW what I know, and my OWN priest validated that to me, making me comfortable enough to be baptized a Catholic on Easter vigil, 2004.
This personal story of mine is that which makes me VERY curious about Magdi Allam. So today, I decided to do a little research on his conversion. The following is the comment I left on Desert Peace's blog:
April 3, 2008 at 6:12 pm
Mannstein, in order to convert to Catholocism as an adult, one must take classes.
These are called RCIA (Right of Christian Initiation of Adults)
This is not a simple process whatsoever. Curiosity has gotten me on this case in particular. I would really like to know if Allam went through this process and for how long. In other words, did he convert like all average people do OR did he receive a fast track conversion.
If followed correctly, he would have done the inquiry stage wherein it is determined if you are spiritually ready to take the classes needed in order to convert. His motivation for conversion would have been dealt with at that time. Then he would have taken the classes which teach about Catholocism itself. It is a major commitment to convert to Catholocism and it is not done by the grace of God per the Protestant sects. It is done by process. It is accomplished through the dedicated time it takes to KNOW what you are doing and just what you are committing to.
Allam attended Catholic schools which his mother had sent him to in Egypt. Not an unusual occurrence whatsoever. Read the interview with him here:
“Last year I spoke confidentially with Msgr. Rino Fisichella, rector of the Lateran University, and I began a journey of spiritual initiation with him in the sacraments of Christianity. In the course of this journey the chance to be baptized by the Pope came up,” he said.
VERY interestingly, penned the following which is part of the ongoing opening dialog between the Vatican and Judaism: THE ROOTS OF ANTI-JUDAISM IN THE CHRISTIAN ENVIRONMENT: CREATING AND NOURISHING THE SIGNS OF A NEW DIALOGUE
Now, follow me here on Msgr. Rino Fisichella. It was he who arranged for the room for the dying Oriana Fallaci, STRIDENT anti-Islamist and ATHEIST. Just read this article, he even arranged for the church bells to ring for her funeral!
Note what is stated:
It was Fallaci’s desire, Fisichella said, that on the day of her funeral, the bells of the cathedral would ring out. It wasn’t easy to arrange, Fisichella said. Though he didn’t elaborate, it’s well known that some Catholics objected to bestowing such an honor upon a professed atheist, while others argued that it would be seen as an endorsement of her stridently anti-Islamic views. Nonetheless, Fisichella said, he managed to pull it off.
So to summarize, we have Allum, a born Muslim turned ANTI-Muslim, doing his supposed RCIA requirements with Msgr. Rino Fisichella, the Catholic bishop who arranged for church bells to ring at an ATHEIST/Anti-Islamic’s funeral, THEN suggest that the Pope himself do the baptism, the FIRST time Allum ever personally met the Pope.
Well———-I think you have the answers here. This was DEFINITELY a STUNT which was highly choreographed by the players themselves!
Furthermore, this so called conversion I feel was not only a choreographed stunt aimed at Islam, it was also a stunt which was orchestrated by at least TWO parties, Allam and Fisichella. The Pope only baptized six people that Easter vigil. Was it Allam or was it Fisichella who suggested this possibility during their private RCIA classes? BOTH have been active in stridently criticizing Islam. Fisichella even stated himself that he held Oriana Fallaci's hand on her deathbed and baptized her EVEN THOUGH she said she didn't believe:
"I held her hand the day before she died, as I had promised, a hand by then reduced to just skin and bones. I also gave her a blessing. I did so consciously, because Oriana Fallaci was baptized. She was a Christian. I did it because Oriana Fallaci made her first Communion, because she was confirmed. I did it because many times Oriana Fallaci told me how, with her father, taught to do so by her father, she read the Bible of Douay. She knew all the illustrations of her Douay Bible, which she decided to leave to me. I did so because many times during the last weeks of her life, when it was just the two of us by her bed and she was suffering enormously, she would look at me, raise her eyes to Heaven, and say, 'If you exist, why don't you let me live?' She didn't say, 'Don't make me suffer,' but rather, 'Let me live.' I did it because Oriana Fallaci loved life, and because the God of Christians is the God of life. I did it because, even though Oriana Fallaci said that she didn't believe, she had great hope. (source)
So Fisichella ADMITS to baptizing a non-believer! An ANTI-ISLAMIC non-believer. Hmm, is it just me, or does anyone else sense MOTIVATION behind this "baptism"