Muslim extremists have reportedly placed a $60-million bounty on the life of Egyptian Coptic Christina priest Father Zakaria Boutros.

Father Boutros’s “crime”: People across the Middle East are hearing his critiques of Islam’s flaws by listening to his daily TV broadcasts or by visiting his website.

In this article, Canadian journalist Michael Coren discusses why Islamic fanatics find Father Boutros so threatening.

“Speaking in Egyptian accented Arabic, and fluent in Islamic scholarship and the various sub-cultures of the Muslim world, he carefully unwraps the layers of the Koran and the life and teachings of Muhammad and presents his viewers with a virtually unprecedented critique of their faith,” Coren writes. “It’s the combination of accessibility and originality that makes him so threatening to militant Islam.”

Father Boutros, who now lives in exile in the United States after twice being jailed in Egypt, told Coren, “We know people are leaving Islam because of what I say and they know people are leaving Islam because of what I say.”

Added the Coptic priest, “People in the West simply don’t understand the significance of this in a world that has not and probably will not embrace pluralism. The Islamic response is not to argue with me but to try to kill me.”

Coren’s article, entitled “A Church Under Siege,” catalogues other recent examples of harsh Islamic intolerance towards Egyptian Christians. Such repression, Coren asserts, is “part of a reoccurring pattern often ignored and, in some regions, actively encouraged by police and militia.”

Coren has a recommendation for anyone who thinks reports of Christian oppression in Egypt are overstated:

“Spend time with an Egyptian Christian living in forced exile and the stories and the pain tumble forth as the toxins of dark experience flow from their memory,” he suggests. “Or speak to Father Zakaria Boutros, if he is allowed to travel and manages to survive the multi-million dollar bounty on his head.”

— Tom McFeely