Zakaria Botros

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Zakaria Botros (Arabic: زكريا بطرس‎, born on 24 October 1934) is a Coptic priest from Egypt. He worked as a priest in Australia in 1992. He has a Bachelors of Arts in History. He is best known for his critiques of the Qur'an and other books of Islam. World Magazine gave Father Botros the Daniel of the Year award in 2008.[1] He has been named "Islam's public enemy No. 1" by Arabic newspaper al Insan al Jadeed.[2][3][4] Al-Qaeda has put a $60 million bounty on his head.[2][5]


Botros became widely known in 2003 after he appeared on talk shows on the Hayah Evangelical Channel. He went on to have his own show on the channel. His criticism of Islam led to many debates about him on talk shows.[6] He frequently appears on Al hayat TV.[7]

Programme cancelled[edit]

On July 2010 The Joyce Meyer Evangelical Ministry – which was a partner for Hayah Channel – informed BBC Arabic that it would discontinue broadcasting Zakaria Botros's show. A quote from the letter reads:

"Our ministry's representative in the middle east informed us that the Hayah Channel decided to stop broadcasting Zakaria Botros's talk show, and this is the last month of its broadcast."

The ministry did not comment on the cancellation.[8]

Al Fady Channel[edit]

Zakaria opened his own channel on April 2011, which he called "Alfady". It is broadcast in North America[9] and the Middle East since November 2011.

Vienna presentation[edit]

Botros was supposed to give a presentation in Vienna on the 6th of May 2012. The presentation would have been his first major appearance in Europe, but the event was cancelled due to "numerous threats of violence."[2][5][10] Wiener Akademikerbund published an apology in the press.[10]

Response from Muslims[edit]


This led many Muslim scholars and writers[who?] in the Middle East to respond to his claims. The most well known respondents included Abo Islam Ahmad Abdullah, Dr. Ibrahim Awad, and Dr. Abdullah Badr. Other public figures suggested that he be ignored.[11]

Abo Islam Ahmad Abdullah said that he invited the Coptic priest to a debate with a moderator on a TV show inside Egypt, but this offer was refused due to safety reasons, despite the fact that Muslim scholars made a promise in media that they would stay with him during the whole trip to guard his safety.[12][13][14]

Calls for stripping his citizenship[edit]

In 2009, Nabi El Wahsh asked the Egyptian government to strip Zakaria Botros's citizenship due to "the instability and disturbing the public security which he caused to Egypt".[15][16][17][18]

Calls to arrest him[edit]

An Egyptian lawyer, Mahmoud Riad, sued the Egyptian president, the Foreign Minister, the Interior Minister, the Information Minister, and the Coptic Pope in a lawsuit to force the Egyptian government to request that Interpol arrest and extradite Zakaria Botros back to Egypt so that he might be held accountable for his denunciation of Islam. He stated that denouncing Islam is high treason, and, additionally, that Egypt should withdraw the ambassador to the country where Botros broadcasts his programs.[19][20][21] Earlier four lawyers had asked for the same thing.[22]

Conversions to Christianity[edit]

In an interview with Aljazeera TV, Islamic cleric Ahmad al-Qatani stated that some six million Muslims convert to Christianity annually, many of them persuaded by Botros's public ministry.[23]

According to Botros, his analysis of Islamic scriptures is designed to give Muslims a "short, sharp shock", intended to make them ask questions and examine their faith.[24] However, he contends that he is not attacking Islam, but merely searching for the truth; "The truth is not restricted to someone, but it belongs to everybody, and it is the right of everybody to search for the truth and to embrace it without fear of authorities or the terrorism of bigots."[25]

Innocence of Muslims controversy[edit]

On September 16, 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported that Botros was an ideological influence on the film Innocence of Muslims, whose portrayal of the Prophet Mohammed set off protests and attacks on Western embassies across the Middle East. The article claims that he was an ideological mentor to three of the people who made it: Steve Klein, an anti-Islam activist and consultant on the film; Joseph Nassralla, head of a Christian TV channel where part of the film was shot; and Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the film's producer. Botros is also quoted in the article as telling the Arabic satellite TV station Alfady, "The movie is all things we said in the past."[26]

Botros officially denies on his website any involvement in the film's making or with its authors, saying some media are attempting "to incite aggression towards a scape goat". In the same statement, he expresses his "[concern] that the most authentic teachings of Islam incite its true followers to kill the infidels", seeing the violence sparked by the movie as "glimpses of its manifestation". On his September 14, 2012 broadcast, in consistence with his assumed style, he did in fact make a critical analyzis of the film's historical, factual and canonical accuracy "from a scholarly perspective", concluding that "no one appreciates such provocative scenes, they are offensive and unnecessary, yet the real problem is that they are consistent with the story of Mohamed as revealed in the authoritative Islamic literature [the Quran and Hadith]." [27]


  1. ^ Belz, Mindy (December 13, 2008). "Broadcast news". World Magazine. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  2. ^ a b c Chan, Cheryl (August 13, 2010). "Anti-Islam cleric with $60m bounty in Langley". The Province (Vancouver, British Columbia: Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  3. ^ Jihad Watch (6/9/2009). "Interview with Father Zakaria Botros, 'Radical Islam's Bane'". Catholic Online. Retrieved 2012-09-16.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ Ibrahim, Raymond (2008-03-25). "Islam’s ‘Public Enemy #1′". National Review Online ( Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  5. ^ a b "Zakaria Botros: Islam’s Scourge Returns". FrontPage Magazine. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  6. ^ قناة «أوربت» الفضائية: حلقة من برنامج "القاهرة اليوم" تتكلم عن ماهية تلك البرامج ومقدميها on YouTube - تاريخ البث: 7 نوفمبر 2007 م.
  7. ^ Raymond Ibrahim (March 25, 2008). "Islam's Public Enemy #1". National Review. 
  8. ^ موقع «BBC Arabic»: قناة "الحياة" وبرامج زكريا بطرص المثيرة للجدل؟ - تاريخ الوصول: 22 مايو 2010 م.
  9. ^ "الموقع الرسمى للقمص زكريا بطرس". Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  10. ^ a b "Father Zakaria Botros: Threatened into Silence". Liberties Alliance. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  11. ^ [1][dead link]
  12. ^ " Urbanization in Western Asia: Environmen: ßĘČ". Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  13. ^ "خالد الجندي:نعم تزوجت مسيحية وأبنائي يتعلمون في مدرسة قبطية". 21 May 2006. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  14. ^ "إسلامي مصري يتعهد باستقبال زكريا بطرس في مصر وتوصيله لبيته". Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  15. ^ [2][dead link]
  16. ^ اليوم السابع | "الوحش" يطالب بإسقاط الجنسية عن زكريا بطرس (in Arabic). 3 September 2009. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  17. ^ ""الوحش" يطالب بإسقاط الجنسية عن القمص زكريا بطرس". coptreal. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  18. ^ "جريدة الوسط اليومية | الوحش يطالب بإسقاط الجنسية عن زكريا بطرس". Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  19. ^ "محاكمة زكريا بطرس". Arab Times. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  20. ^ "الأقباط متحدون | طلب القبض على "زكريا بطرس" من الإنتربول الدولي". Copts United. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  21. ^ "The Leading AL Rajol Site on the Net". Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  22. ^ "موقع لواء الشريعة :: الأخبار ::دعوى قضائية تطالب الإنتربول بالقبض على القس زكريا بطرس". Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  23. ^ Ibrahim, Raymond (2 February 2010). "Islam’s "Public Enemy #1"". Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  24. ^ "Coptic Priest Fearlessly Spreading God's Word". CBN TV. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  25. ^ Botros, Zakaria. "Possibility of criticizing Islam, the Quran and Muhammad and attacking Father Zakaria himself". Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  26. ^ Garrison, Jessica; Bensinger, Ken; Ryan, Harriet (September 16, 2012). "Fiery O.C. cleric influenced figures behind anti-Islamic film". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 16, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Zakaria Botros Official Website". Retrieved 22 June 2014. 

External links[edit]