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.
The host of “Cairo Today,” Mr. Adib, then asked the television audience: “Who is financing Father Boutros?” He continued by saying that if Father Boutros was a true ‘male,’ that he would tell the viewers “who is behind him.” Such an accusation hints at the fact that Father Boutros is a product of an American or Zionist (the Jews) conspiracy and that he is more interested in money rather than dialogue, a dialogue where one side always threatens to murder the other when it disagrees.
The show then took a call from “Husam” from the city of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia who said: “We know where Father Boutros resides and finding him is not difficult. We can get him by many ways and by any means.” That means, for example, that if Father Boutros were living in the United States, Muslim terrorists would now be called upon and directed by Arab media to go and get him wherever he may be and kill him. I hope that the US Department of Homeland Security is aware of these threats on the lives of Arabs in the US who are simply practicing their freedom of speech in an attempt to influence and reform their countries of origin. Regardless of whether Father Boutros is right or wrong for asking his questions and invoking criticism, this old fashioned way of Arabs abroad threatening Arab-Americans who raise dissent to Islam must end. No wonder Arab-Americans do not speak out like they should against terrorism.
Ever since 9/11, militant Islamists have systematically placed fatwas (religious decrees for murder), or bounties, on the heads of any one who questions Islam. These barbaric death sentences accomplish the opposite effect they are intended to have and they do not produce respect for Islam and Muslims, but rather simply scare away decent people from Islam and increase the fear around the world of that religion. Muslims cannot seem to understand that in a free society, no religion or idea should be immune from criticism, whether it is Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Atheism, Communism or Capitalism.
This story brought threats, common in the Muslim world, to a new level done by a TV host on an Arab television show. Frightened Christian Copts in Egypt are for good reason now terrified by the new openness and courage of their own priests. The Egyptian Coptic Pope broke down in tears after the latest attack by Muslims on that nun in Alexandria because he was powerless to object. All he could do was cry in sorrow. Although his cries brought a lot of sympathy, it was muted immediately because many Muslims in Egypt chose to condemn him for crying publicly like a woman. That is why Coptic Christians called into “Cairo Today” to appease and deflect the threat on all Copts in general. And terrorist sympathizers who agreed with callers to the show who threatened Father Boutros, like the man from Riyadh, were only encouraged to look for the location of Father Boutros in order to kill him by Adib before the show’s end.
Now that’s reality TV, Arab style.
To those who think that terrorists are just a fringe minority in the Arab world, I say please listen to and watch the “Cairo Today” show and the gracious response of Father Boutros in the face of death threats. This can be viewed on his website. Prepare to be shocked.
People in America are just not aware of what Muslim Arabs are planning to bring to our shores and what they have in store for all of us. This story is but one example.
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