Conversion Wars

Listen to Maher and Dina Al-Gowhary and Nagla'a Al-Emam telling of their persecution for conversion from Islam on BBC Radio4  


Crossing Continents encounters converts in Egypt who live in constant fear. We meet 'Mariam', a convert to Christianity who is secretly married to a Christian and who lives in hiding as her family have threatened to kill her. She is now pregnant, and says that she will never be allowed to officially marry her husband and that her child will have to be raised without official papers. speaker


But there is also a group of Christian TV channels, mostly based in the USA and run by converts, who are targeting the region's Muslims.

The programme gains rare access to one of these channels, where they discover converts using shocking language to attack Islam. The largest of these channels, called Al-Hayat, claims to have millions of viewers in the Arab World. Its most prominent preacher, Father Zakaria Boutros, is famous for his incendiary attacks on Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. Father Boutros lives in hiding after receiving numerous death threats. He has inspired a new generation of preachers who are deliberately attacking Islam as a method to convert Muslims to Christianity. His brand of 'shock' preaching has spread across the airwaves and the internet.


We track down the Al-Hayat channel to the USA, and find that it is a 'vital partner' of one the USA's most prominent TV evangelists. Joyce Meyer Ministries (JMM) receives tens of millions of dollars a year in donations, and much of it is spent on 'Christian outreach.' While JMM deny any editorial control over the station, the BBC finds they helped to launch it and they buy airtime. A spokesman for JMM eventually sends an email saying that Father Boutros will no longer be hosting a show on Al Hayat.

The programme is written and reported by Omar Abdel-Razak of the BBC Arabic Service and narrated by Hugh Levinson.

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