Al Qaeda declares Coptic priest Zakaria Botros "one of the most wanted infidels in the world"



And offers 60 million for his head. More on Islam’s Public Enemy #1. “Exclusive: Al Qaeda targets leading Arab evangelist operating in the U.S. for preaching the Gospel to Muslims,” by Joel C. Rosenberg for Flashtraffic, September 9 (thanks to JW):

You have probably never heard of Father Zakaria Botros. But you need to know his story. He is far and away the most-watched and most-effective Arab-American evangelist focused on reaching the Muslim world, and by far the most controversial. The Rush Limbaugh of the Revivalists, he is funny, feisty, brilliant, opinionated, and provocative. But rather than preaching the gospel of conservatism, he is preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. And his enemies do not simply want to silence him. They want to assassinate him.


Last week, I had the honor of interviewing Botros by phone from a secure, undisclosed location in the United States, where he now resides. He told me that he had just learned that an al Qaeda website had posted his photograph and named him one of the “most wanted” infidels in the world. The Radicals have even put a bounty on his head. The Christian Broadcasting Network reported the figure was as high as $60 million. Botros does not know for certain. But just to put that in context, the U.S. bounty on Osama bin Laden’s head is “only” $25 million.

Why are the Radicals so enraged by an elderly Coptic priest from Egypt who is in his 70s? Because Botros is waging an air war against them, and he is winning.

Using state-of-the art satellite technology to bypass the efforts of Islamic governments to keep the gospel out of their countries, Botros is directly challenging the claims of Muhammad to be a prophet, and the claims of the Qu’ran to be God’s word. He systematically deconstructs Muhammad’s life, story by story, pointing out character flaws and sinful behavior. He carefully deconstructs the Qu’ran, verse by verse, citing contradictions and inconsistencies. And not only does he explain without apology what he believes is wrong with Islam, he goes on to teach Muslims from the Bible why Jesus loves them and why is so ready to forgive them and adopt them into His family, no matter who they are or what they have done.

If Botros was doing this in a corner, or on some cable access channel where no one saw him or cared, that would be one thing. But his ninety-minute program – a combination of preaching, teaching and answering questions from (often irate) callers all over the world – has become “must see TV” throughout the Muslim world. It is replayed four times a week in Arabic, his native language, on a satellite television network called Al Hayat (“Life TV.”) It can be seen in every country in North Africa, Middle East, Central Asia, as well as all throughout North America,Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. And not only can it be seen in so many places, it is seen – by an estimated fifty million Muslims a day.

At the same time, Botros is getting millions of hits on his multiple web sites in multiple languages. There, Muslims can read his sermons and study through an archive of answers to frequently asked questions. They can also enter a live chat room called “Pal Chat” where they are not only permitted but encouraged to ask their toughest questions to trained on-line counselors, many of whom are Muslim converts to Christianity who understand exactly where the questioners are coming from and the struggles they are having.

As a result, Botros – on the air only since 2003 – has practically become a household word in the Muslim world. An Arabic newspaper has named him Islam’s “Public Enemy #1.” Millions hate him, to be sure, but they are watching. They are listening. They are processing what he is saying and they are talking about him with their friends and family. When Botros challenges Radical clerics to answer his many refutations of Islam and defend the Qu’ran, millions wait to see how the fundamentalists will respond. But they rarely do. They prefer to attack Botros than answer him. Yet, the more the Radicals attack him, the more well-known he becomes. The more well-known he becomes, the more Muslims feel compelled to tune in. And as more Muslims tune in, more are coming to the conclusion that Botros is right and in turn are choosing to become followers of Jesus Christ. Botros estimates at least 1,000 Muslims a month pray to receive Christ with his telephone counselors. Some of them pray to receive Christ live on their air with Botros. And this surely is only the tip of the iceberg, as it represents only those who are able to get through on the jammed phone lines. There simply are not currently enough trained counselors to handle each call.

[…]He does not believe all Muslims are Radicals, but he does believe all Muslims are spiritually lost, and he wants desperately to help them find their way to forgiveness and reconciliation with the God who made them and loves them.

“I believe this is the hand of God,” Botros told me. “He is directing me. He shows me what to say. He shows me what to write on…the web sites. He is showing me more and more how to use the technology to reach people with his message of redemption.”

“As I love Muslims, I hate Islam,” says 2008 Daniel award recipient Fr Zakaria Botros

“My dictionary does not contain the word ‘fear'”

Father Zakaria Botros has just been named World Magazine’s 2008 “Daniel of the Year,” something of a Christian equivalent to Time Magazine’s “Man of the Year.” I first wrote about the elusive Fr Zakaria here. The unedited World Magazine article is long but well worth the read, as it has many details — such as the fact that each of Botros’ weekly episodes are watched by nearly 60 million Arabic-speakers, the vast majority of which are Muslim.

“2008 Daniel of the Year Award,” by Mindy Belz for World Magazine, December 13:

Botros has been hosting Truth Talk since 2003. The weekly show grew out of an internet chat room attended by thousands where the Coptic priest engaged Muslims on the inherent contradictions of their own religion and found that he was leading many to faith in Jesus Christ. As the geographic scope of the show has grown, so has its reach into the lives of Muslims. It is broadcast in Arabic, and this year began also to be translated for Turkish audiences and into Farsi to be aired in Iran. 

Father Zakaria, as he is known to millions, has won his enormous following not by borrowing from the toolbox of the televangelist. For someone whose ecclesiastical tradition began in a.d. 100, his tools are decidedly 21st century: satellite uplinks, Wi-Fi connectivity, a late-edition Vaio laptop that is with him at all times, and a trusted reference tool he refers to as “St. Google.” He can spend 14-hour days on research for each show, and for this episode emailed the final script to producers at 4:30 a.m.

The result is less a preaching ministry and more like battlefield strategy. It’s the late-in-life culmination of a conscious decision, Botros says, to move away from apologetics and toward what he calls polemics: “My program is to attack Islam, not to attack Muslims but to save them because they are deceived. As I love Muslims, I hate Islam.”

Such conviction earns Botros a heady following—and serious enemies. Jihadist groups have reportedly posted a death threat worth $60 million against him. This year his name and photo appeared on an al-Qaeda website, seeking retribution for his teachings, which often depict Muhammad as less of a prophet and more of a womanizer. For his fearless determination in the face of his enemies, for his willingness to label Islam a false religion in a year when many Christian leaders have overreached in their quest for common ground with its worshippers, Zakaria Botros is WORLD’s 2008 Daniel of the Year.[…]

One recent episode of Truth Talk, aired Nov. 21, cut to 20 separate clips, most of Cairo’s respected Al-Azhar University Sheikh Khaled El-Gendy, to debate the age of Aisha when she became Muhammad’s second wife…

In one clip El-Gendy argues that “the Quran is enough” and the hadiths on Aisha aren’t needed. Another scholar cites a recent magazine article claiming she was a teenage wife. As Islamic authorities shout at one another onscreen, Botros calmly asks, “Are these holy books or not?” “If you are explaining her age based on a magazine article, what’s your reference?”

On the set Botros alternates between a jovial Captain Kangaroo persona and a finger-pointing, cloaked authority figure who sets his face toward the camera and declares, “Everyone should question all these discrepancies.” But Botros says he’s not looking to leave Muslim viewers with only questions: He begins and ends each episode with prayer, he sometimes reads from the Bible, and he almost always brings on a guest who is introduced as a Muslim convert to Christianity.

In another recent episode titled “Was Muhammad a messenger from God or Satan?” Botros recites the characteristics of a false prophet by Sunni scholar Ibn Taymiyya, then lays down his book, looks into the screen, and says each of the characteristics cited by Taymiyya apply to Muhammad. He quotes Matthew 7 and asks viewers, “Does this sound like a real prophet to you? Remember: ‘Ye shall know them by their fruits.'”

Botros told me in our first interview, “When I started to preach this way many or most Christians refused the style. They were afraid. For 14 centuries we [as Middle East Christians] are under the threat of the sword of Islam. So they were afraid and told me, ‘They will kill us! They will destroy our houses!’ But after I preached the gospel and spoke in this manner for years now, many of them now say, ‘We are no longer ashamed of our religion when Muslims attack us.'”[…]

At the same time, emphasis on Muslim-Christian interfaith dialogue has grown. Last month King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia hosted a UN interfaith dialogue in New York, which was preceded by similar meetings in Madrid and at Yale, as well as a dialogue that included discussion of theological distinctives at the Vatican.

Botros believes such rapprochement can succeed only for a short time. But he says his methods won’t work unless the motive is “nothing else but love.” Despite his confrontational style, he says: “I am not against Muslims although I am against Islam as a false religion. I don’t want to disgrace Muslims but to expose Islam. My ultimate intention is to glorify God and to save people, especially Muslims. Muslims are victims. Muhammad deceived them as he himself was deceived by Satan. Muslims believe that Muhammad is the best prophet, that the Quran is the only proper book from God, and Islam is the only religion from God. Muslims are in bad need to be saved from these false beliefs.”

Botros is fairly sure he’d be dead by now if it weren’t for the virtual universe in which he operates. Were he to make these kinds of statements on a street in almost any Islamic-dominated country, he would be hauled into court on charges of insulting Islam, where a guilty verdict could lead to his being killed. His broadcasts are aired from an undisclosed studio and he is strict about keeping his whereabouts out of public light. More positively, he discovered as he neared his 70s that with some tech-savvy, he could reach Muslims with Christian teaching in a way not possible in nearly 50 previous years as an active priest.[…]

Is your heart always in the Middle East?” I ask. “Yes,” Botros replies, “in the Muslim world always.” Botros grew up in a Christian family in Alexandria. Muslim attackers killed his older brother when he was a young teenager. “Instead of anger against Muslims, the Lord saved me from that. I had pity on them.” In his last year of high school he had a Muslim teacher who regularly challenged him for worshipping “a dead God.” Botros said he realized, “If I answered him from the Bible it would be no good. I had to read the Muslim books and the Quran itself.” Throughout his university years, he said, he read all the teachings of Muhammad as a way to answer Muslim questions about Christianity.

“This is a problem for every Christian in Egypt: He faces a fight for his faith in the schools. So I started to write what I had learned about Islam and how to answer questions about Christianity. I wrote them in books and started to publish them, small books. These were apologetics, defending our faith,” he said…

Twice authorities jailed him for preaching the gospel to Muslims, once in 1981 for one year, and again in 1989. A judge sentenced him to life in prison but ordered him released on the condition of forced exile: He had to leave Egypt and never return. By that time he had ministered in Cairo for over 30 years but moved to England with his wife, where he ministered in a Coptic church for 11 years before he said he “retired” to begin the television and internet ministry.

“What do you fear?” I ask.

“Fear? I fear nothing,” says Botros. “My dictionary does not contain the word fear. I believe in God and I believe that the epistle of Ephesians says we are created in Jesus Christ for a plan, which was engaged from the early beginning. No one can cut it, and when it is completed no one can continue it.”

The ongoing exploits of Fr. Zakaria Botros: “Peace and blessings upon him”?


Recently Father Zakaria Botros—also named World Magazine’s “Daniel of the Year”—briefly examined the oft-repeated phrase uttered by Muslims every single time Muhammad’s name is evoked, and which is often relayed in English as “blessings and peace upon him” (also seen as the acronym PBUH—“peace be upon him”).

The original Arabic phrase uttered after Muhammad’s name is Sala Allah ‘aliyhi we sallam, which literally translates into “Allah pray on him and peace.” This is founded on Koran 33:56, where it says that “Allah and his angels pray (yi-sal-un) on the prophet…”

At one point or another, every Arabic speaker who reflects on this phrase asks, “Why—and how—does Allah go about praying on Muhammad?”

The standard response from the ulema has been that, in this context, Sala does not mean “pray” but rather “bless.” This is why the phrase states “on him” (‘aliyhi) not “to him” (iliyhi): only the latter would clearly mean that Allah prays toMuhammad—which is beyond haram, of course.

As Father Botros points out, however, there are some problems with this explanation. First of all, rare are the Arabic dictionaries indicating that the word Sala means “to bless”; indeed, the only time Sala means “to bless” is based entirely on the phrase Sala Allah ‘aliyhi we sallam—as there are no other instances where Muslims need a reason to believe Saladoes not mean what it always does: Prayer.

Botros than read aloud one of the standard recitations Muslims say at specific events from Al-Majmu’ Al-Nawwawi, vol.8, p.202: “Allah Sala on Muhammad and his family, as you did with Ibrahim and his family.” After a few more recitations, the prayer goes back and says, “Allah bless Muhammad and his family, as you did with Ibrahim and his family…”

Botros’ pertinent question: If Sala means to “bless,” why then does the recitation go on to use the proper Arabic word for “bless” (Baraka/barik) in the same exact context? If both mean “bless,” why the redundancy? Surely, then, Sula does notmean bless; does it mean “pray”?

He then read from a very telling hadith recorded in Kitab Al Sunna by Abdullah bin Ahmad, vol.1, p.272: Apparently, when Muhammad reached the 7th heaven during the Isra and Mi’raj, he encounter Gabriel, who immediately said “Shh! Wait, for Allah is praying (Sala).” Muhammad asked: “Does Allah pray?” to which Gabriel said, “Yes, he prays.” Muhammad then asked, “What does he pray?” and Gabriel said “Praise! Praise the Lord!”

Father Botros, now visibly irritated, put the book down, looked in the camera, and asked: “How can Allah pray, and to whom?! Who does Allah magnify?!”

It was not clear what his rhetorical questions meant. On the surface, it sounded as if he was just annoyed at the notion that Muslims say that Allah “prays” (to which he called them kafirs, infidels, for doing so). More closely, however, it almost seemed that he was agreeing that “Allah” does pray and magnify “Another.”

In fact, it seems he may have been subtly implying that Allah is but another creating being — like the Jinn and Iblis — who worships and prays to the “real” God.

Just one more reason to make Muslims try to eliminate Botros — even while other, more sober, Muslims reconsider what they have long assumed to be “gospel” (or, in this case, “koran”).

13 thoughts on “Al Qaeda declares Coptic priest Zakaria Botros "one of the most wanted infidels in the world"”

  1. I’ve never heard of him. But if A-Q wants him dead then he must be doing something right. May he live a long and fruitful life.

  2. Want to know the real reasons why Islam hates Christians and Jews with such a passion???
    Just listen to Walid Shoebat and he will tell you why from a perspective us people in the west just don’t seem to grasp.

    Watch this series of videos of Shoebat and your view of Islam will become even more ominous…

  3. Great freakin’ article! I’d heard of Botros but I didn’t know he was such a bad-ass! I love that he’s smacking Islamic theologians in Arabic for millions of mideast Muslims to see and hear.

  4. Islam is a deceptive cult. It looks like a respectable religion – but don’t try to quit. Because, Islam is powered by anonymous religious thugs who kill to enforce sharia law. And sharia law says to kill those who leave Islam.

    Father Zakaria Botros knows this and explains it in a fashion and language that Arab speaking Muslims can understand.

    Islam can not stand the truth. The jihadis go crazy when confronted whith the truth.

    I pray for a long life for Father Zakaria Botros.

  5. The best way to achieve peace on Earth is to broadcast Father Zakarias’ lectures to the Muslim World in all Languages.

    Let the People seek freedom and love and see evil disappear.

    VOA this is your agenda and you will change the world with love not politics.

  6. hi i just wanted to say that “just because some people are know for their bad behaviour it doesnt mean that islam is it” islam is a faith as good or as bad as “jew, christianity, katoliks or else”

    faith is just like politics in fact is all politics and about publicity.

    leave us alone?

    who the fuck is able to change my mind of what i belive in no one

    i personally belive in god (i also belive its just a human ilusion anyway)

  7. av leave us alone? When are muslims going to leave other people alone?
    islam is not a religion it is a deadly cult and you are a brainwashed member of that cult.

  8. Ehm , Before you start jumping to conclusions , He is refusing to confront muslims , it is only one sided. Islam does not force people to believe nor go knocking doors saying “BELIEVE NOW” while carrying a sword. The problem is why don’t the other people leave muslims alone without attacking them for nothing , accusing them with many things and saying false untrue facts about them. Many muslims sent requests to confront Zechariah Boutros in a normal talk , and he escapes it on Life TV. And when they appeared on Paltalk , he simply muted them so he could continue what he was saying , he simply is attacking and wanting the other side not to defence , and if they defence he tells the world that they are attacking him , Why would Al Qaeda put a prize on his head? There have been many people who have been attacking Islam before him and he won’t make a change by just letting a million people leave Islam or a million people hate Islam. If he really is saying the true words of God and he is sent by God…. why he is attacking people? Peace isn’t about attacking views.

    Concerning the people who say that Islam is a deadly cult and muslims are brainwashed members of that cult , Do you even know what is Islam about? If you say Terrorism and lies made up by liars who claim that they were sent by god , then you do not know anything about it. Islam is a religion of peace , and those who do not spread peace aren’t muslims , a Muslim is someone who believes that there is only one God , who hasn’t been born nor gave birth and he never shared his God-ness with anyone , Islam is a religion that says that Jesus is the son of Mary , who is a believer of The God , and Jesus is like Adam , made from Dust , Dirt , Mud. If you think Terrorism means Islam then you are at fault , you’ve never seen muslims nor interacted with them , If you see a muslim who is a terrorist just know that he is putting a mask to claim that his terrorism is righteous. Islam isn’t a deadly cult , it is a religious belief that says that God is one , he never married nor been born nor gave birth , there isn’t a simple proof that it is a deadly cult , If you say 9/11 , watch a movie which was made by an Athiest in USA, the movie’s name called Zeitgeist , Suicide bombers? Yeah right , Like I am stupid enough to grab a belt full of bombs and blow myself saying JIHAAAD without scoring anything while there is a Verse in the Qur’an that is against suiciding. About those who say that Shari’a says about killing those who leave Islam , seems that you didn’t study Islam well , Only the Judge is allowed to give such a command of executing someone , and it must be agreed by the Governor. Islam didn’t attack anyone , its just defending , I’ve never heard of something such as an Islamist rising up against Jews & Christians killing them for nothing. You probably didn’t notice that people do not want to seek freedom and love , they are seeking evil , Just look at the number of thugs , chavs , thieves in the streets of countries that are ruled under a divine law , and countries that are ruled by a written law.

    Mr.Bob Smith said that Islamists go crazy when they confront , I hope you could tell me who were they , what was their Maddhab ( If you know whats a Maddhab ofcourse ) , and when did they confront Zechariah Boutros ? Zechariah Boutros is ignoring all requests to confront him by the way , there are more than 100 Muslims young sheikhs who want to confront him in a nice way , while he says that Muslims do not know the word “Nice” and that muslims are wild animals who are looking up to shedding blood also he mentioned that muslims have been attacking him , seriously why would he call them muslims if he read the Qur’an and read the verse that prohibits insulting people , opinions and beliefs of other people.. I’d be an asshole if I insulted Zechariah Boutros , because I’d take the short way to hell by disobeying my Shari’a , However I could atone my sins at anytime , I do not need a mosque , I do not need a Sheikh , I do not need an Islamist … All what I need is a heart that says that There is only One God who forgives sin and deserves to be prayed , and that God doesn’t need anything , he sent me messages before telling me that if I want to go to heaven is just believe in the righteous and believe in his existance. Islam does not hate christians nor jews , as I said before Islam is a religion of Peace and doesn’t involve hate , there is no such a verse that says that muslims are hating towards Christians and Jews doesn’t exist. There is only the word dislike in the Shari’a . Ask the Arab Christians and Jews how Muslims treat them in their country. In the end , I want to tell my Christian brothers and my jew brothers that I do not hate them , nor hate their point of view , I believe in Jesus ( Christianity ) , Moses ( Jedauism ), David ( Zabur ) , Abraham and Muhammad ( Islam ). There is an wise saying that says “Know your enemy before attacking him , he might be your Ally” , So study the Shari’a , Qur’an , Islam and behaviour of Muslims before attacking them , just like Muslims studied everything concerning Jedauism , Christianity and other religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, Islam didn’t attack , it simply told the people to believe or not , they are old enough to decide. I doubt that there are people who know about Islam or The prophets and messengers sent before Islam. And Peace , mercy and blessings of The God be upon all of you , Assalamu Alikum wa Rahmatu Allah Wa Barakatuh.

  9. Dear Father Botros if you hate mohammad you are the looser I am really astonished that you do not follow the truth, even though God endowed you with the knowledge of Arabic language, But I can tell you that your responsibility will be great in refusing the truth, since you will have no proof of ignorance of it, you can not say before God on the Day of Judgement that you have no knowledge of the truth, I am sure that in your heart you know the truth but unfortunately you prefer the profane reward but it is very little, do you thing that your fame in this world will be of benefit to you in the hereafter, really you are a poor person I really pity you what are you going to do when you will face the torment of the blaze of Hell Fire if you insist in going in the wrong, certainly no one will be of help to you no one will save you, think deep before it is too late, repent my Brother, you have still the chance before you hurry up !!

    Sheikh Fawzi

  10. Sheikh Fawzi, your islamic world is about to be destroyed by the God that allah and its false prophet mock and blaspheme against. The prophecies concerning Israel and those who come against it with a view to destroying it will be fulfilled, and the inavders will be destroyed.

    Ezekiel 38 and 39, among others.

    Flee from allah, islam and the false prophet while you still can.

    islam is doomed.

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