Coptic TV Show Causes Controversy in Egypt
The weekly show "Questions About Faith" on the Egyptian
based Christian Al-Hayat satellite channel features an
Egyptian Coptic priest residing in the United States. Father
Zakaria Boutrus, the show, and Al-Hayat TV itself, have come
under harsh criticism in the Egyptian press. Boutrus and his
show have been accused of attacking Islam; of being
supported by the U.S. to sow division and strife; and of
"mocking the verses of Allah."
Al-Hayat TV has been accused of being the work of foreign
agents collaborating with the U.S., and Pope Shenouda III
reportedly announced his opposition to the station's
broadcasts, and denied that the station was in any way
connected with the Egyptian Church.
One episode which aired on July 4, 2005, discusses
anti-Christian verses that, according to Boutrus, should be
struck from the Koran. Another episode aired on June 27,
2005, discusses a Hadith, which according to Boutrus, is
"reminiscent of Hitler." An episode from June 16, 2005,
talks about how Islam is spread by the sword.
Clip 1 - Coptic Priest Zakaria Boutrus: Verses Must be
Struck from the Koran; I Demand an Official Apology from
Muslim Governments to Christians
TO VIEW THIS CLIP:
"I live in a country (the U.S.) that respects freedom of
speech. I exercise my freedom of speech and talk, and no one
can deny my free will. Gone are the days of the sharp sword
that cut off the tongues of our people and forefathers to
prevent them from speaking in the Coptic language. Gone are
the days people's heads would be chopped off if they did not
convert to Islam."
"What should the Muslims do to make you stop saying these
"My demands involve ten important issues. Let's call it ten
demands. The first demand... They are not for my sake, but
for the sake of truth, belief, and Jesus. First, striking
out all the Koranic verses that deny the divinity of Jesus
and the revelation of God in him. Second, acknowledging that
Jesus is the spirit and word of God, as they truly believe,
without hiding this fact. Third, striking out the Koranic
verses and hadiths that incite to kill Christians,
like in the Al-Tawba chapter, v.29: 'Fight those who do not
believe in Allah, nor in Judgment Day, nor do they prohibit
what Allah and His messenger have prohibited, nor do they
follow the religion of truth' – that is, Islam. Among whom?
'Among the People of the Book.'
"The Christians and Jews. 'Until they pay the Jizya
poll tax in submission.' This is murder. Number four,
striking out the Koranic verses and Hadiths that incite to
terrorism and oppression in all their forms."
"What do you mean by terrorism and oppression?"
"Terrorism – 'Urge the believers to fight,' and the
hadith: 'I was commanded to fight people until they say:
There is no God but Allah.' All this is terrorism and
murder. Number six:Stopping the attack on Jesus and the Holy
Book in mosques and in all the media. Number seven:
Giving people and Muslims the freedom of... You may ask what
do I care about the Muslims? No! They must have the freedom
to choose their religion and the freedom to express their
belief. Number eight:To abolish the punishment for apostasy,
to stop torturing people who convert to Christianity, and to
stop imprisoning or even killing them. Number nine:Formal
apologies must be made by leaders throughout the Arab world
for the murder of Christians in countries invaded by Islam.
Number ten: Leaders throughout the Arab world should make
formal apologies for the insults directed against our faith
throughout Islamic history. The viewers may say: 'Is this
priest crazy, or what? These demands could only be made by
an insane man... To strike out Koranic verses... Does this
make any sense? What is he going on about?' OK, if you
cannot change (the Koran), why are you asking us to change
our beliefs? Why do you demand that we say what you say, or
else - the sword?
"(Al-Halabi) says: ' If the Prophet wanted an
available woman...' – in other words, an unmarried woman, a
widow, or a single woman – '...he was allowed to enter
her...' I don't like to use the word i-n-t-e-r-c-o-u-r-s-e.
'...without her guardian and without witnesses...' Without
witnesses. '...and against her will.' Against her will. 'If
he desired a married woman, her husband had to divorce her
for him. And if he desired a servant-girl, her master had to
give her to him. He can even marry off the woman to whoever
he wants, against her will.'"
"We know that the Prophet is allowed what others are not."
"Why? Is he made of different stuff than the rest of
Clip 2 - Coptic Priest Zakaria Boutrus: The Prophet
Muhammad's Hadith Is Reminiscent of Hitler
TO VIEW THIS CLIP:
"A hadith by the Prophet Muhammad says: 'Two
religions will not exist together in the Arabian
"Is this not a type of racism?"
"This is Hitler. This is Hitler, whom we despise. Who
destroys entire nations? The (Jewish tribes of) Bani Qureiza
and Bani Nadhir, and Najran... It is forbidden. Murdering
people because they don't have the same beliefs as you..."
Clip 3 - Coptic Priest Zakaria Boutrus on the Spreading of
Islam By the Sword
TO VIEW THIS CLIP:
as portrayed in the encyclopedia of Islam, in the Koran and
the Hadith, was spread by means of the sword. 'The sword
played a major role in spreading Islam in the past, and it
is the sword that preserves Islam today. Islam relies upon
Jihad in spreading the religion.' This is very clear in the
encyclopedia. This appears in section 11, page. 3,245. It
says: 'Spreading Islam by means of the sword is a duty
incumbent upon all Muslims.' Thus, Islam is spread by means
of the sword.
"Another thing is the punishment for apostasy. 'The
punishment of killing any Muslim who abandons Islam is one
of the most important factors terrifying all Muslim. He does
not dare question the truth of Islam, so that his thoughts
will not lead him to abandon Islam. In such a case, he would
receive the punishment for apostasy: He would lose his life,
and his property and wives would permitted for all.'
"This reminds me of a true story that I heard about the
preachers who spread Islam in Africa. They reached a certain
place in order to spread Islam, and they asked one of the
locals: 'Do you prefer to worship one god and have four
wives, or to worship three gods and have one wife?' We, of
course, don't worship three gods, but that's what they said.
The African said 'I like four women, and I don't care which
god. I want four women.' So they told him to say the
shahada, and he did.
"Then they told him he had to be circumcised in order to
become a Muslim. He asked: 'Do I really have to? I am a
grown man.' They answered: 'Yes, you have to, in order to
get the monthly stipend, and you can marry four wives.' The
man agreed, and underwent the pains of circumcision despite
his advanced age. They began to pay him the monthly stipend,
and after a few months they cancelled the stipend. The man
went and asked: 'Where's the money?' They told him: 'Now you
are deep in Islam, you don't need the monthly stipend any
more.' He threatened: 'I will abandon Islam.' They said: 'If
you leave Islam, we will carry out the apostasy punishment
on you.' He asked what it was, and they said: 'We will chop
off your head, and cut you into pieces.' This African man
began to mumble: 'What a strange religion: when you go in
they cut off a little piece of you, and when you go out,
they cut you into little pieces.'
"This is the punishment for apostasy that keeps people
afraid. Even when they reach the truth, they're afraid to
express their opinion. There are other factors, such as
upbringing from a young age. Children are brainwashed that
Islam is the truth, that Mohammad is the last prophet, that
the Christians are infidels and that the Jews are infidels.
They repeat it constantly.
"Since early childhood, he cannot think properly, because a
certain way of thinking is forced on him. In addition, the
religion of Islam satisfies the human urges, just like our
(African) friend who said he preferred four wives. 'Two,
three, four, or however many you can.' It satisfies the
sexual urges and man's desire for ownership. It goes hand in
hand with human nature. It does not exalt human nature, but
reduces itself to the level of human nature."
For an Arabic-language site, see
http://www.islam-christianity.net; For a limited
English-language version, which contains some articles
critical of Islam, see