By Nonie Darwish
I was listening to the Egyptian government’s Cairo Orbit channel one day, the “Cairo Today” show, when suddenly the host, Amr Adib, threatened the life of Father Zakaria Boutros, a Coptic Christian leader. Adib did that right in front of an audience of millions. The show was broadcast in December, 2005. Father Boutros is an Egyptian Coptic priest who has peacefully inspired about 500 Egyptian Muslims to convert to Christianity, something considered a crime punishable by death in the Muslim world. For carrying out those conversions, he was imprisoned twice while he was living in Egypt in the early 1980’s and is now living in exile outside of the country. TV host Adib, in threatening Father Boutros
, said that no one will remain quiet about what Father Boutros says and does even today. He will be cut up into little pieces. If he were still in Egypt, he would never be able to return to his home alive. He was told he would not get away with those conversions of Muslims to Christianity.
As an Arab myself, I don’t want to see Muslim youth get confused and kill innocent Copts or another good Coptic priest in place of Father Boutros, because that is what certainly happens in Egypt after a show like this airs.
The reason for those threats on Egyptian television by Amr Adib was because he believes that Father Boutros’s challenging questions about Islam and his quotations from the Koran about killing people denigrate Adib’s Islamic faith. Father Boutros, in rebuttal, still says he wants someone in the Muslim hierarchy to answer many pressing questions and contradictions found in the Hadiths (the book of commentaries on the Koran) and the Koran itself
, and that both Muslims and non-Muslims have been asking many unanswered questions that they are unable to get direct answers from by any Muslim. Father Boutros’s frustration is shared by many in the Arab world, but people are afraid to speak out. There was a Muslim sheikh on the same show with Adib, Sheikh Khalid El Guindi, who also refused to answer questions about Islam from Father Boutros and said that his answer to the Father’s questions will come out soon in a booklet. Of course, this will never happen, it was just a stall. The majority of the show was full of undignified yelling, insults and lies shouted by the host and others of his ilk.
The show then received a call from some frightened Coptic Christian Egyptians who anxiously said that they condemn what Father Boutros said about Islam and his controversial questions. Egyptian Copts have been living under extreme fear, oppression and terror in Egypt more than ever before for the last 30 years. Coptic girls have been disappearing and kidnapped by Muslim gangs and later placed into forced conversions and marriages to Muslim men. If they attempt to go back to Christianity they are murdered as apostates. Churches are being burned and Copts by the dozens are being killed. The last attack was in Alexandria recently when a nun was stabbed, Bibles were burnt, and the local Coptic Church was desecrated by a mob.
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Father Zakaria Boutros' official websitewww.fatherzakaria.com