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Tuesday, July 26, 2005
MEMRI: Coptic TV Show Causes Controversy in Egypt

Special Dispatch - Egypt
July 27, 2005
No. 943

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.(1)

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: http://www.memritv.org/search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=753

Boutrus: "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

Interviewer: "What should the Muslims do to make you stop saying these

Boutrus: "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.'

Interviewer: "Who are..."

Boutrus: "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."

Interviewer: "What do you mean by terrorism and oppression?"

Boutrus: "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.'"

Interviewer: "We know that the Prophet is allowed what others are not."

Boutrus: "Why? Is he made of different stuff than the rest of mankind?"

Clip 2 - Coptic Priest Zakaria Boutrus: The Prophet Muhammad's Hadith Is
Reminiscent of Hitler

TO VIEW THIS CLIP: http://www.memritv.org/search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=751

Boutrus: "A hadith by the Prophet Muhammad says: 'Two religions will not
exist together in the Arabian Peninsula.'"

Interviewer: "Is this not a type of racism?"

Boutrus: "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

TO VIEW THIS CLIP: http://www.memritv.org/search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=718

Boutrus: "Islam, 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

"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."

(1) 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 http://www.fatherzakaria.net/index.htm.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is an independent,
non-profit organization that translates and analyzes the media of the Middle
East. Copies of articles and documents cited, as well as background
information, are available on request.

MEMRI holds copyrights on all translations. Materials may only be used with
proper attribution.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)
P.O. Box 27837, Washington, DC 20038-7837
Phone: (202) 955-9070
Fax: (202) 955-9077
E-Mail: memri@memri.org

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