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.
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 (1.8×1.5×1.8 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 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, 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 man—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. Islam is by far the falsest religion—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. Muslims have no greater enemy than their own scriptures—particularly the Hadith and Sira—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-fiqh—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 agree—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.”
FP: So what does it say about a religion whose religious teachers and members have to ignore their own theological texts because they cannot endure what those texts really say? What sense does any of this make?
Botros: Again, this is a reflection of the fact that Islam is less a faith, more a vehicle for empowerment. As you say, what is the point for a person to closely guard and follow a religion that he himself has to rationalize, ignore, minimize, constantly reinterpret, dissemble over, and so forth? The fact is, most Muslims do not know what is in their own texts; at best, they know, and here and there try to follow, the Five Pillars. This is why the issues I broach often traumatize Muslims—like a freshening slap across the face: a short, sharp, shock. The stubborn, who take it as an attack of “us versus them,” irrespective of truths, just fume and plot to kill me; the other, more reasonable Muslims, who are really searching for the truth, end up waking up to the biggest hoax perpetrated on the human race in 1400 years, and many come to the ultimate Truth. A better question is why do the ulema hide these issues from both infidel scrutiny as well as the eyes of the average Muslim? One would think that if anyone is dedicated to the truth it would be the ulema; yet their deceptive tactics reveal the opposite. For instance, it is often the case that, after I quote problematic passages from certain Islamic books, they have a strange tendency of disappearing from the book shelves of the Arabic world. The bottom line is, many Muslims think of Islam less as a spiritual system dedicated to ascertaining and putting one on the course of the truth, and more a way of life—first and foremost not to be questioned—that if followed closely, will result, not only in future paradise, but earthly success, honor, and power.
FP: You have pointed to a hadith that instructs women to breastfeed men. What exactly is going on here and what do the ulema (prominent Muslim theologians past and present) have to say?
Botros: This is a perfect example of what I just said. After I made popular the Islamic notion of rida‘ al-kabir—wherein women must “breastfeed” strange men in order to be in their presence—instead of confronting their own hadiths which documented this, the ulema attacked me. Why? Because they have no answer. Much easier to turn it around and slander me, instead of simply addressing their own texts. Past and present, the ulema have by and large supported this shameful practice—including Ibn Taymiyya, “sheikh al-Islam.” Moreover, sometime after I publicly documented rida‘ al-kabir, a top Islamic scholar in al-Azhar—the most authoritative institution in Sunni Islam—actually issued a fatwa authorizing Muslim women to “breastfeed” strange men, to which the Egyptian populace (happily) revolted. Yet when I alone mentioned it earlier, I was accused of “distorting” Islam.
FP: So Islamic texts command that women must breastfeed strange men. Ok, so who would create such an instruction? For what purpose? Who even wrote this down and thought of it? Let’s even say that I am being open-minded and am ready to accept this as an understandable teaching. What’s the rationale here? Yes, women should breastfeed strange men because. . . .?
Botros: Because Muhammad—“Allah’s prayers and blessings be upon him”—said so. Period. Who created such a practice? Muhammad. Why? Who knows; the texts say he laughed after commanding the woman to breastfeed that man. Maybe he was joking around, trying to see how far people will believe in him as a prophet? The top hadith compilers wrote it down, preserving it for later generations. As for what purpose does it serve, one can ask that question about any number of things Muhammad said: what purpose does drinking camel urine serve? What purpose does commanding men to wear only silver as opposed to gold serve? What purpose does banning music serve? What purpose does anathematizing dogs serve? What purpose does commanding people to eat only with their right hands, never their left, serve? What purpose does commanding Muslims to lick all their fingers after eating serve? Simple: sharia law’s totalitarian approach serves to brainwash Muslims, making them automatons that never question their religion, or, in the words of their own Koran, “Do not ask questions that may prove harmful to them.”
FP: Tell us a bit about Muhammed’s sex life as documented by Islamic sources.
Botros: This is a very embarrassing topic for me to discuss; and I only do so out of my love for Muslims—though I know it is painful for them to hear. Yet such is how healing begins, through initial pain and suffering. In short, according to Islam’s scriptures, Muhammad was, well, a pervert: he used to suck on the tongues of young boys and girls; he dressed in women’s clothing (and received “revelations” in this state); he had at least 66 “wives”; Allah supposedly sent him special “revelations” allowing him to have sex with his step-daughter-in-law, Zainab, and to have more wives than the rest of Muslims; he constantly dwelt and obsessed over sex—his first question to a “talking donkey” was if the latter “liked sex”—and he painted a very lurid and lusty picture of paradise, where, according to some top Muslim interpreters, Muslims will be “busy deflowering virgins” all day; and he had sex with a dead woman. There is more, but why dwell on such shameful things? Again, I stress, it is not I who maintains this but rather Islam’s own books—much, of course, not known to non-Arabic readers, as they have never been translated (except, as I understand, by some heroes at a website called Jihad Watch).
FP: Yes, that’s our friend Robert Spencer’s website. But wait, here’s the key. Many people right now will point at you and make accusations against you for saying these supposedly horrible things. But again, the issue is not that you are making these allegations. The issue is that Islamic scriptures themselves say it. So if Muslims are offended or shocked by these realities then they must confront their own scriptures and deal with them. They need to confront who wrote them and why, and either accept them or categorically reject them as lies, etc. For the record, pinpoint some Islamic scriptures for us that detail these ingredients of Muhammad’s sex life so that, once again, we crystallize that the issue is not you making accusations, but simply revealing what Islamic scriptures themselves say.
Botros: Where does one start? According to the Koran alone (33:37), Allah made it legitimate for Muhammad to marry his own daughter-in-law, whom he lusted after. A few verses later (33:50), Allah made it legitimate for Muhammad to have sex with any woman who “offered” herself to him—a privilege which was allowed for Muhammad alone. Indeed, these “revelations” which granted Muhammad all his sexual desires were so frequent that his child-wife, Aisha, would often say to Muhammad, “My, your Lord is always quick to fulfill your desires!” And to his faithful followers, Muhammad permitted all the infidel woman that they could capture, as concubines (Koran 4:3). All this is from the Koran alone; it would take several hours just to go over the hadiths and sira accounts dealing with the sexual perversions of Muhammad. In fact, I have devoted numerous episodes dealing specifically with Muhammad’s sexual depravities—including his sleeping with a dead woman, have a fetish for the smell of menstruation blood, dressing in women’s clothing, and so forth. (Jihad Watch has translated many of these.)
FP: One of your more popular videos is your Ten Demands. What has the impact been of your ministry?
Botros: It has been glorious—praise be to God alone, whose instrument I am. Haya TV (“Life TV”) and I receive daily countless e-mails from Muslim converts to Christianity. Our programs reach millions of Arabic speaking viewers around the world. It is even banned in certain countries, such as Saudi Arabia, even though people from there still manage to access our programs.
FP: How about the feedback you receive?
Botros: Mostly positive; mostly from those who have, as I call it, “crossed over,” that is, converts to Christianity. And of course some are angry and full of hate. But like I said, it is not feedback—positive or negative—that motivates me, but rather unconditional love for those sincere souls living in bondage.
FP: You’ve obviously been instrumental in Muslims coming to Christ, yes?
Botros: That’s what they tell me. In fact, many of them tell me I am like a father to them, which I am honored to be called, though I remind all we have but One Father. For instance, one man recently contacted me, in tears, telling me how, when he was a Muslim, he wanted to kill me—to cut off my head! He spent much time and effort plotting how he can find me so he can kill me (and “please” Allah and his prophet). So he kept watching my shows, hoping somehow to find a clue that would help him locate me. Instead, a miracle occurred: over time, he realized I wasn’t making things up, that everything I said was in fact in Islam’s books. He stopped hating me. And in time, he came to Christ. It is stories like these that keep me going.
FP: In your view, who was Muhammad?
Botros: Well, I have received the answer from Islam’s own books. Ironically, Ibn Taymiyya, who happens to be the hero of the modern mujahid movement, explained the prerequisites of prophet-hood very well. One of the things he stressed is that, in order to know if a prophet is in fact from God, we must study his sira, or his biography, much like the Christ’s statement that “You shall know them from their fruits.” So, taking Ibn Taymiyya’s advice, I recently devoted a number of episodes analyzing the biography of Muhammad, which unequivocally proves that he was not a prophet, that his only “fruits” were death, destruction, and lust. Indeed, he himself confessed and believed that he was being visited and tormented by a “jinn,” or basically a demon, until his wife Khadija convinced him that it was the angel Gabriel—which, of course is ironic, since Muhammad himself later went on to say that the testimony of a woman is half that of a man: maybe over time he realized she was wrong, and that his first assumption was right.
FP: Fr. Botros, thank you for visiting us today.
Botros: Thank you, and may the true God richly bless you.
A well written article.
I will say this for Orthodoxy.
They call it like it is when it comes to this issue.
Muslim-Christian dialogue sounds nice but I think in some places it is too good to be true.Furthermore, in the sickening spirit of “political correctness” I fear many Christians may be duped into our so called “commonalities” rather than seeing how far Islam REALLY is from the the Truth of Christianity whose roots are in Judaism. Rather I pray for a solidarity with Christians and Jews as we do worship the same GOD —but Christians in full revelation—with respect to Christ being the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets. That was made evident in the Transfiguration. This is stated out of love for the Jews who gave us the Book of Books–and the Messiah–Jesus HIMSELF. My heart goes out to this Priest. He is NOT enemy #1. Rather he is a brave man with the truth! Let us all pray that Jesus protect him and that the Angles of Raphael and Michael and Gabriel surround him. NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST US SHALL PREVAIL!!!!! Peace in the Lord Jesus–
That so-called “breastfeeding” hadith is CRAZY! Sounds like some pervert just trying to get over.
Very informative article. I learned many things I didn’t already know. God protect Fr. Zakaria Botros and bless his ministry.
This was a beautiful Lenten message. Thank you for sharing it.
…and the Truth will set you free.
sl (@sslegesse) says
waw Father Botros such an apostolic work well done and spread the truth to the world.
I learn a lot from you amazing!At the end the truth wins always! Hallelujah!!
Hmm… Nice article. I didn’t know about those shameful details in Mohammed’s life. I wish that all Muslims had known all the truth about Islam and Orthodox Christianity so they could consciously make their own decision between good and evil.
Petros Antonious says
I hope Muslims , especially in the West are open to simply reading through this and investigating their own faith, I mean we are all curious about our own faith. If someone ever brings up discrepancies to me, I don’t mind, I look into it myself and go straight to the bible to verify the context , and see where they are coming from at least.
Muslims seem to be so embossed in the beautiful passages/concepts that have been taken from the Old & New Testament, preventing them from imagining anything greater. If they only knew, there is a-lot more where that came from – without the controversial , appalling, wretched twists.
I thank this man, for risking his life, and having the will power to perform this research.
While I respect this man’s story and thank God for his conversion, I think some of the claims he makes about Islam and the life of Mohammed need to be properly sourced and cited from reputable works. Such serious accusations should not be accepted without proof.
Fr. John says
Andrew, that is absolutely true – which is why muslims have such a hard time with his tv program. He is verifiably correct in all of his sources, many of which are not available in English. While I cannot cite them, I have enough Arabic speaking friends who have confirmed for me that Fr. Botros knows the Quran and Islamic sources better than almost all the imams, and the Bible better than most priests!
Petros Antonious says
Andrew , did you read the article? He pinpoints verses left & right towards the end. Look them up.
This article has brought to mind the precious treasure of faith based upon solid rock. I have many Muslim friends who often speak with me about my own faith, and absolute confidence in the accuracy of the Bible. I’ve read the Quran, and even with my own meager linguistic skills have identified many inconsistencies in it, that also appear in the English translation. Yet, I never claim to be any sort of authority on the Quran with friends so as to avoid the appearance of my own words serving as an attack on any religious text valued by others. Referring friends to scholars who are recognized authorities works better, and avoids even the perception of disparagement, or superiority on my part, and prevents unintended offense.. Avoiding the appearance of superiority of the Bible (true though it is), keeps minds more open and hearts softer. Sometimes perception is can be more real than objective reality actually is.
Fr. Botros is, from what I and friends who have converted away from Islam have stated, positively spot-on in his understanding. Thanks Fr. John for posting this article. And thank you Fr. Botros for your writings, broadcasts, and great courage.
God bless you Fr. Bostros… thank you for telling the truth
wachio Joy says
this is amazing!!!!!!!God will see you through.
Fiona H says
Many blessings – may your message go forth and be received more wonderfully than ever before, and may you be divinely protected.
ok this is a nice article … i have learnt so many thing about islam(not muslim’s;we love them) so i deeply hate it now…thank you GOD! you gave us such a great father ..long life for father botros!
God bless you Fr. Botros for fighting the good fight and saving those who are lured to death (eternal death). You speak with the truth we know about this fake bloody religion that through fear and terror they preach their faith to the world. Andrew please do not doubt Fr. Botros who read the Quran very well and dedicated his life to discovering its myths and truth. Everything he says he quotes from verses from the Quran. If you still have doubts look it up for yourself and dedicate your time as he did. If not then I think by their actions you can see for your self clearly what Islam stands for.
At the end every knee shall bow down to the lamb “our savior Jesus Christ”, those in heaven those on the earth and those under the earth and all will worship him alone.
gemma garce says
Very informative… a real eye opener.
Thanks for sharing.
semere kidane says
Am so happy fatherzakaria botoros, you are our todays hawaria? Really you are light of orthodox!
Samar G says
God bless you Fr Zakaria Botros. You’re an inspiration to me; May God give you the strength and health to keep going. Pray for my faith to strengthen!
Bless you Father for bringing the light of the Truth to a darkening world.
I am a muslim want to convert to christianity sooooo much
Fr. John says
mohamed, the email you provided is bouncing back our posts to you. Please contact us through the contact form on this site.
Rule number 1 never trust a muslim.
Fr. John says
It is difficult because their faith specifically includes taqiyya – lying to advance the faith or take advantage of non-muslims.
Rahman Abdul says
i hope father zakaria botoros can visit indonesia someday..I Love u and hope Jesus God give you more streght to you.6 million muslim convert to Christian and belive Jesus a God,that so amazing Father zakaria botoros.
Ida Laila says
My heart so blind because been a fool by islam,afte nearly 2013 after i see a Father zakaria botoros say about islam it’s a fake religion and how devils inside the alquran book,i convert to Christian after that day and my heart so peace and can feel many of Jesus God words about life.
Excellent……!!! I will be happy to receive more and more articles from Fr.Zakaria Bortus..
Thank God for modern technology nowadays where internet and knowledge are easily accessible. I had always wondered if Islam believes in Isa (Jesus), then wouldn’t it make more sense to learn from the source (Bible) directly?
So I started to read the bible and consulting with priest. Sometimes joining class to learn more about it. You know, the Bible sometimes uses metaphors that are not easily to be understood. Took me years to learn to finally convert to Pentecostal Christian where there I truly am growing in Christ.
I realized sometimes faith alone is hard without any proof. I would like to think Jesus knew about this too so that’s why before He ascended, He sent us Holy Spirit to accompany us and speaking in tongue is one of the ways of the manifest (Acts 2:1-31). I have not yet been gifted but my girlfriend and aunts have and from their experience, it is peaceful and you feel as if you can communicate clearly. They are now asking so that with God’s grace they would be able to interpret and I am so excited for them. Please pray for me too so that God would grant me baptism by Holy Spirit.
And to those fellow converts here, welcome brothers and sisters! Stay strong and finish strong. God bless you and I know He really loves all of us.
David Masagbor says
may God blesses you fr. zakaria botros & guide you all through the days of your life you are indeed a genius. proud of you