The Coptic priest who for years was the bane of Islam's existence, appears to be back in action after an unexplained year-long hiatus. The charismatic Father Zakaria Botros used to appear weekly on Arabic satellite television from 2005-2010 where he, citing directly from the Quran, allegedly exposed multiple theological flaws with Islam while simultaneously evangelizing from the Bible. And he was successful. During his time on television, Fr. Zakaria reportedly garnered nearly 60 million viewers, mostly Muslims, and inspired mass conversions to Christianity.
According to FrontPage, Fr. Zakaria's self-proclaimed mission is to "attack Islam, not attack Muslims" and to "save them because they are deceived."
Fr. Zakaria also reportedly said "as I love Muslims, I hate Islam."
In fact, so successful was Fr. Zakaria that al-Jazeera reportedly aired a segment complaining about the priest's “unprecedented evangelical raid” on the Muslim world, while one Sheikh Ahmad al-Qatani allegedly bemoaned the fact that as many as six million Muslims convert to Christianity each year.
Needless to say Fr. Zakaria quickly became Islam's “Public Enemy #1.”
Unsurprisingly, Fr. Zakaria’s exploits caused al-Qaeda to proclaim him “one of the most wanted infidels in the world,” putting a $60 million bounty on his head; undeterred, the priest kept going, his viewers and converts multiplying by the week.
Then, in May 2010, after a particularly graphic episode on Muhammad, his shows inexplicably stopped airing. His enemies exulted. Muslim leaders, preachers, and sheikhs appeared on TV, gleefully announcing that Allah had silenced the great enemy of Islam.
Yet despite Islamists' attempts to silence the priest, Fr. Zakaria is reportedly back on satellite with his very own station Fady TV which, translated, means "Redeemer TV." The channel is reportedly for those “searching for the truth.”
According to FP, Fr. Zakaria's first episode of his new show, "Knowledge of the Truth," saw a near endless stream of viewers, mostly Muslims, calling in to express how much they had missed the evangelist. Some viewers reportedly even cried. FP reports what happened next:
And while their words were full of sincere and enthusiastic praise—many insisted that he is a living saint, others a modern day St. Paul—it was only when an elderly-sounding woman asserted that everyone must support Fr. Zakaria, not for his sake, but for the sake of his work liberating Muslims from bondage, that the normally stoic Zakaria broke down in tears.
But why does Fr. Zakaria evoke such strong emotions of both love and hate? FP asserts that as a native Arabic speaker, Fr. Zakaria is able to connect directly with the Muslim world, and that as a man of faith, Muslims take a priest more seriously.
You see, while Western critics are limited to making secular arguments against specific aspects of Islam—for instance, that it is illiberal, intolerant, sexist—he makes spiritual arguments against the very foundations of the religion.
This is not to say that Western polemics are not beneficial; they are, in that they awaken Western peoples to the nature of Islam. However, arguing or even proving that Islam falls short of Western/secular standards has little impact on Muslims—except perhaps to make them more tenacious of their faith (the inevitable result of comparing apples and oranges).
But an attack on the veracity of the religion itself—an attack articulated through a spiritual as opposed to a secular paradigm—must be confronted by Muslims.
Another reason for Fr. Zakaria’s success, according to FP, is because he "fights fire with fire."
For example, during this, his first episode, he discussed Sheikh Huwaini‘s recent assertions that Islam advocates plundering, enslaving, buying, and selling infidels. Many have written about this anecdote either to show that Islam is intrinsically violent, or that “radical Islamism” is spreading, or that Islamic teachings are incompatible with the West.
But Fr. Zakaria takes it a step further—takes it right to the heart of the matter. After asserting that “God created mankind in his image,” he sincerely addressed his Muslim viewers: “Would God truly want you to kill your neighbor, to enslave him? Would the Almighty truly want believers to buy and sell other human beings like animals? Think people! Use your minds, listen to your hearts—for your souls are at stake!”
While Fr. Zakaria's new station is still in its nascent stage and has yet to reach the Middle East, the priest is reportedly optimistic. And according to FP, the station is set to air entire episodes dedicated to examining the Quran, the Hadith, Muhammad, and "Allah."
Do you think Fr. Zakaria will be successful and manage to escape those who will seek to silence him?