Our friends in Egypt


Freedom of religion remains a marginal concept in much of the Middle East. Memri reports on Egyptian objections to a satellite TV channel reporting on the affairs of Coptic Christians.

The weekly show "Questions About Faith" on the Egyptian based Christian Al—Hayat satellite channel features an Egyptian Coptic priest residing in the United States. Father Zakaria Boutrus, the show, and Al—Hayat TV itself, have come under harsh criticism in the Egyptian press. Boutrus and his show have been accused of attacking Islam; of being supported by the U.S. to sow division and strife; and of "mocking the verses of Allah."

Al—Hayat TV has been accused of being the work of foreign agents collaborating with the U.S., and Pope Shenouda III reportedly announced his opposition to the station's broadcasts, and denied that the station was in any way connected with the Egyptian Church.(1)

One episode which aired on July 4, 2005, discusses anti—Christian verses that, according to Boutrus, should be struck from the Koran. Another episode aired on June 27, 2005, discusses a Hadith, which according to Boutrus, is "reminiscent of Hitler." An episode from June 16, 2005, talks about how Islam is spread by the sword.

James Lewis   7 27 05