News updates first:
- Obama Drops Key Clause in Jerusalem Embassy Memo
- MUST-READ: Spiegel interview with 0bama’s great-uncle
- Clinton: “Israel is Lying” (what does that make Clinton?)
- What media Bias? Newsweek’s Evan Thomas: Obama Is ‘Sort of God’
- Obama postpones US embassy move to Jerusalem
A must read interview. The good father even gives a “shout out” to Jihad Watch. Hyperlinks provided in the original. “The strange teachings of Muhammad,” fromÂ FrontPage Mag, H/T JW:
Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Coptic priest Fr. Zakaria Botros, who al Qaeda has called “one of the most wanted infidels in the world,” issuing a 60 million dollar bounty on his head. Popular Arabic magazines also call him “Islam’s public enemy #1”. He hosts a television program, “Truth Talk,” on Life TV. His two sites are Islam-Christianity.net and FatherZakaria.net. He was recently awarded the Daniel of the Year award.
FP: Fr. Zakaria Botros, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
Botros: Thank you for inviting me.
FP: Let’s begin with your own personal story, in terms of Islam and Christianity.
Botros: I am a Copt. In my early 20s, I became a priest. Of course, in predominantly Muslim Egypt, Christiansâ€”priests or otherwiseâ€”do not talk about religion with Muslims. My older brother, a passionate Christian learned that lesson too late:Â after preaching to Muslims, he was eventually ambushed by Muslims who cut out his tongue and murdered him. Far from being deterred or hating Muslims, I eventually felt more compelled to share the Good News with them. Naturally, this created many problems: I was constantly harassed, threatened, and eventually imprisoned and tortured for one year, simply for preaching to Muslims. Egyptian officials charged me with abetting “apostasy,” that is, for being responsible for the conversion of Muslims to Christianity. Another time I was arrested while boarding a plane out of Egypt. Eventually, however, I managed to flee my native country and resided for a time in Australia and England. Anyway, my life-story with Christianity and Islam is very long and complicated. In fact, an entire book about it was recently published.
FP: I apologize for asking this, but what were some of the tortures you endured when you were imprisoned?
Botros:Â Due to my preaching the Gospel, Egyptian soldiers broke into my home putting their guns to my head. Without telling me why, they arrested me and placed me in an extremely small prison cell (1.8×1.5×1.8 meters, which was further problematic, since I am 1.83 meters tall), with other inmates, and in well over 100 degree temperatures, with little ventilation, no windows, and no light. No beds of course, we slept on the floorâ€”in shifts, as there was not enough room for all of us to lie down. Due to the lack of oxygen, we used to also take shifts lying with our noses under the crack of the cell door to get air. As a result, I developed a kidney infection (receiving, of course, no medical attention). Mosquitoes plagued us. Food was delivered in buckets; we rarely even knew what the gruel was. The prison guards would often spit in the bucket in front of us, as well as fling their nose pickings in it.
FP: My heart goes out to you in terms of this terrible suffering you endured.
What is your primary purpose in what you do?
Botros: Simple: the salvation of souls.Â As I always say, inasmuch as I may reject Islam, I love Muslims. Thus, to save the latter, I have no choice but to expose the former for the false religion it is. Christ commanded us to spread the Good News. There is no rule that says Christians should proselytize the worldâ€”except for Muslims! Of course, trying to convert the latter is more dangerous. But we cannot forsake them. This is more important considering that many Muslims are “religious” and truly seek to please God; yet are they misdirected. So I want to take their sincerity and piety and direct it to the True Light.
FP: In what way can you summarize for us why you think that Islam is a “false” religion?
Botros: Theologically, as I am a Christian priest, I believe that only Christianity offers the truth. Based on my faith in Christ, I reject all other religious systems as man-made and thus not reflective of divine truths.Moreover, one of the greatest crimes committed by Muhammadâ€”a crime which he shall surely never be forgiven forâ€”is that he denied the grace and mercy that Christ brought, and took humanity back to the age of the law.
But faith aside, common sense alone makes it clear that, of all the world’s major religions, Islam is most certainly false. After all, while I may not believe in, say, Buddhism, still, it obviously offers a good philosophical system and people follow it apparently for its own intrinsic worth. The same cannot be said about Islam. Of all the religions it is the only one that has to threaten its adherents with death if they try to break away; that, from its inception, in order to “buy” followers, has been dedicated to fulfilling some of the worst impulses of manâ€”for conquest, sex, plunder, pride. History alone demonstrates all this: while Christianity was spread far and wide by Christians who altruistically gave up their lives, simply because they believed in Christ, Islam spread by force, by the edge of the sword, by fear, threats, and lurid enticements to the basest desires of man.Â Islam is by far the falsest religionâ€”an assertion that is at once theologically, philosophically, and historically demonstrable.
FP: You always document your discussions with Islamic sources. Why do Muslim clerics and imams have such a difficulty discussing what Islam itself teaches and instead just attack you personally?
Botros: I think the answer is obvious. The Islamic sources, the texts, speak for themselves.Â Muslims have no greater enemy than their own scripturesâ€”particularly the Hadith and Siraâ€”which constantly scandalize and embarrass Muslims. To date, I have done well over 500 different episodes dedicated to various topics regarding Islam. And for every one of these episodes, all my material comes directly from Islam’s textual sources, particularly usul al-fiqhâ€”the Koran, hadith, and ijma of the ulema as found in their tafsirs.
So what can the sheikhs of Islam do? If they try to address the issue I raise based on Islam’s texts and sharia, they will have no choice but to agreeâ€”for instance that concubinage is legal, or that drinking camel urine is advocated. The only strategy left them, then, is to ignore all that I present and attack my person, instead.
And when well-meaning Muslims ask their leaders to respond to these charges, one of their favorite responses is to quote the Koran, where it says “Do not ask questions of things that will hurt you.”
Raymond Ibrahim: St. Francis of Assisi, Fr. Zakaria Botros, and Islam: Continuity
While not formally connected, two books I recently finished reading —Â St. Francis of Assisi and the Conversion of MuslimsÂ andÂ Defying Death: Zakaria Botross, Apostle to IslamÂ — complement each other very well, specifically by establishing continuity between medieval and modern Islam, and, in so doing, demonstrating that Islamic intolerance has a long pedigree.
For instance, after St. Francis and his companions challenged the sultan’s ulema to a theological disputation in order to show the superiority of Christianity to Islam, the latter refused and “instead insisted that they be killed [by beheading], in accordance with Islamic law.” (p. 60)
Medieval Muslims appear to have also had the same soft spots of today’s Muslims. A contemporary notes, “The Saracens treated with great cruelty those Christians who spoke ill of the law of Mahomet.” (p. 90) Other anecdotes reveal that Muslims could tolerate Christiansâ€”except whenever the latter questioned Muhammad. Reminiscent of how today’s non-Muslims often get themselves in trouble, or worse, killed, whenever they allude to the prophet of Islamâ€”whether by quoting history, publishing cartoons, or naming teddy bears “Muhammad.”
After St. Francis asked the sultan to convert to Christianity, the latter confessed: “I could not do that. My people would stone me.” (p. 65) Indeed, the sultan was eventually attacked “for his tolerant attitude towards Christians and was accused of failing to be a ‘fervent Muslim.’” (p. 75) These two points are a reminder that today’s Muslim apostate, no less than his medieval counterpart, must be executedâ€”as we see in daily headlinesâ€”and that Muslims who are too “friendly” with infidels, in direct contravention to Koran 3:28, can be denounced of apostasy.
If the reader still thinks the above is aberrant or “outdated” behavior for Muslims, another bookâ€”Defying Death: Zakaria Botross, Apostle to IslamÂ (2007)â€”makes clear how tenacious such reactions are. A Coptic priest who has spent his life proselytizing Muslims, Botross’ experiences with the former mirror St. Francis.’ According to his biography, when the priest began preaching to Muslims in Egypt, he was imprisoned, tortured, and eventually deported; when Muslims actually began converting, his life, according to Islamic lawâ€”which condemns both the convert and converterâ€”was forfeit.Â
Undeterred and now in his mid 70s, he currently hosts a very popularÂ Arabic satellite programdedicated to examining Islam vis-Ã -vis Christianity, especially through their scriptures, in an effort to debunk the former. And just like St. Francis, he constantly invites the ulema to debate himâ€”only to receive death threats, including a multi-million dollar bounty on his head.
Botross often explores arcane Arabo-Islamic texts, many which contain unflattering material concerning the Prophetâ€”he recently ran a series dedicated to documenting the “perverse sexual habits of the Prophet.” As with St. Francis’ experiences, the Muslim response, including live callers hysterically promising to cut Botross’ head off, confirms that Muhammad, then and now, is a soft spot for Muslims.
Finally, as with the sultan who, reflecting upon the possibility of his conversion to Christianity, concluded that “I could not do that. My people would stone me,” the many Muslim converts appearing on his show and calling in, reveal that their apostasy from Islam has made them outcasts, many in hiding, others on the run for their lives, often from their families.