No, not really, but what really happened was much more significant. Pope Benedict XVI baptized a prominent Italian former Muslim in a very public and prominent way:
Italy’s most prominent Muslim commentator, a journalist with iconoclastic views such as support for Israel, converted to Roman Catholicism Saturday when the pope baptized him at an Easter service.
As a choir sang, Pope Benedict XVI poured holy water over Magdi Allam’s head and said a brief prayer in Latin.
“We no longer stand alongside or in opposition to one another,” Benedict said in a homily reflecting on the meaning of baptism. “Thus faith is a force for peace and reconciliation in the world: distances between people are overcome, in the Lord we have become close.”
Vatican television zoomed in on Allam, who sat in the front row of the basilica along with six other candidates for baptism. Allam later received his first Communion.
And some Muslims are indeed perplexed:
Yahya Pallavicini, vice president of Coreis, the Islamic religious community in Italy, said he respected Allam’s choice but said he was “perplexed” by the enormously symbolic and high-profile way in which he chose to convert.
Well, I for one totally dig the high profile nature of the conversion. As Instapundit said: “[T]his will irritate the right people.”