Interview with a Coptic Orthodox Priest who has a 60 million dollar al Qaeda bounty on his head

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 sheiks 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.

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