For the second time in a little over six months American Muslims from Michigan are trying to silence a radio show that is critical of Mohammad and Islam.
Broadcast angers Muslims
Leaders want radio station to stop airing comments by priest they say defame Muhammad.
Gregg Krupa / The Detroit News
SOUTHFIELD -- Muslims and interfaith leaders in Metro Detroit are asking a local radio station owner to discontinue broadcasts in which, they say, a Coptic priest has repeatedly defamed the Prophet Muhammad over the past year.
In an Arabic-language broadcast Wednesday on WNZK 680/690 AM, the Rev. Zakariah Boutros said the Muslim prophet Muhammad had engaged in necrophilia and gay sex, according to the Council on American Islamic Relations.
Boutros has previously come under fire from area Muslims, who say he disparages Islam. The controversial, American-based priest can be heard on purchased time slots on radio stations internationally. His words have stirred controversy in Egypt and Great Britain, and are embraced by a number of bloggers and Web sites that criticize Islam.
Amani Mostafa, who hosts the program "Questions About Faith" on which Boutros spoke Thursday, said Boutros was "reading from an Islamic text" when he said, over the air, that the Prophet Muhammad slept in the grave of a dead woman and allowed a man to kiss and caress his chest.
"I am a former Muslim," said Mostafa, who is now Christian. "I know exactly what I am talking about. These are the things we were taught as children. We are quoting the Quran and the Hadiths, and if the Muslims have a problem with that then they have a problem with their own book."
Hadiths are Muhammad's saying or writings, as reported by his followers.
Muslims say that no such wording appears in the Quran or the Hadiths.
"If that's their excuse, it's lame," said Dawud Walid, of CAIR, which distributed a "national alert" Thursday asking Muslims to contact the radio station to express concerns about the broadcast. CAIR also counseled Muslims to be "firm but polite.
Hostile comments can and will be used to further defame Islam and Muslims."
Sima Birach, who owns the station, said he had received some complaints on Thursday, though he said he did not know how many.
In an interview with The Detroit News last summer Birach promised to end the broadcasts, upon the request of interfaith Muslim, Jewish and Christian groups in Metro Detroit.
Birach went so far as to put people associated with Boutros's broadcasts on conference calls with this reporter, while he berated them for allowing what some consider hate speech.
"It's not right," Birach said at the time. "It's not fair to use some fake or stupid books to accuse someone's religion. Do you hear me?" But on Thursday, Birach said he had since heard from "several prominent people in the community," that what Boutros stated in the broadcasts is true.
"Maybe we need to have more meetings," Birach said, referring to members of the Muslim and interfaith communities.
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