Father Zakaria Botros is a Coptic Orthodox Priest who was named World Magazine's 2008 "Daniel of the Year" because of his courageous witness to the Christian faith in an extraordinarily hostile environment. Catholic Online presents for our worldwide readers an interview which Father Botros gave to FrontPage Magazine. We were granted permission to republish this startling interview by Robert Spencer,the Director of "Jihad Watch." This interview appeared in the June 4, 2009 FrontPage under the title of “The Strange Teachings of Muhammad.”
Interview with Father Zakaria Botros, “Radical Islam's Bane”
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, Christians—priests or otherwise—do not talk about religion with Muslims. My older brother, a passionate Christian learned that lesson too late: 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: 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 (1.8x1.5x1.8 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 floor—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. 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 world — 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 Muhammad—a crime which he shall surely never be forgiven for—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, [...For full article click here at Catholic Online...]
Suffice to say that I only have a 52p Bounty on my head. Here it is.
So say a prayer for the brave priest who is witnessing to the Gospel at such risk to his personal safety.