(7) Let us pray for this courageous priest


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Let us pray for this courageous priest

Folks, speaking of courageous people, let us also remember in our prayers Father Zakaria Botros. He is a priest of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt, and a dauntless apologist of Jesus Christ in the face of Islamic arrogance. Raymond Ibrahim of National Review wrote a wonderful profile of the priest. This is an excerpt:

Though he is little known in the West, Coptic priest Zakaria Botros — named Islam’s “Public Enemy #1” by the Arabic newspaper, al-Insan al-Jadid — has been making waves in the Islamic world. Along with fellow missionaries — mostly Muslim converts — he appears frequently on the Arabic channel al-Hayat (i.e., “Life TV”). There, he addresses controversial topics of theological significance — free from the censorship imposed by Islamic authorities or self-imposed through fear of the zealous mobs who fulminated against the infamous cartoons of Mohammed. Botros’s excurses on little-known but embarrassing aspects of Islamic law and tradition have become a thorn in the side of Islamic leaders throughout the Middle East.

Botros is an unusual figure onscreen: robed, with a huge cross around his neck, he sits with both the Koran and the Bible in easy reach. Egypt’s Copts — members of one of the oldest Christian communities in the Middle East — have in many respects come to personify the demeaning Islamic institution of “dhimmitude” (which demands submissiveness from non-Muslims, in accordance with Koran 9:29). But the fiery Botros does not submit, and minces no words. He has famously made of Islam “ten demands,” whose radical nature he uses to highlight Islam’s own radical demands on non-Muslims.

The result? Mass conversions to Christianity — if clandestine ones. The very public conversion of high-profile Italian journalist Magdi Allam — who was baptized by Pope Benedict in Rome on Saturday — is only the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, Islamic cleric Ahmad al-Qatani stated on al-Jazeera TV a while back that some six million Muslims convert to Christianity annually, many of them persuaded by Botros’s public ministry. More recently, al-Jazeera noted Life TV’s “unprecedented evangelical raid” on the Muslim world. Several factors account for the Botros phenomenon.

First, the new media — particularly satellite TV and the Internet (the main conduits for Life TV) — have made it possible for questions about Islam to be made public without fear of reprisal. It is unprecedented to hear Muslims from around the Islamic world — even from Saudi Arabia, where imported Bibles are confiscated and burned — call into the show to argue with Botros and his colleagues, and sometimes, to accept Christ.

Please, read the whole article here.

Commentary. Fr. Zakaria is a wonderful witness for Jesus Christ in a land where Christians have lived in degrading dhimmitude for centuries. Indubitably, Fr. Zakaria's boldness means that he is in danger of losing his life. Let us pray for him, and also for the lives of all those who turned to Christ thanks to his fearless testimony. May the Light of Christ shine brighter in Egypt and throughout the Arab world that knows not his Mercy and Peace.

- Visit Father Zakaria's website