Following are excerpts of an interview with Egyptian cleric Mahmoud Amer, which aired on Modern Houriya TV on December 9, 2011:
Mahmoud Amer: I do not believe that Jesus was crucified. I believe in what the Koran says: "They killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them." Am I supposed to believe in the words of our Lord, or in the words of the Vatican? Those were the words of our Lord, not mine. They think [he was crucified]. That's what Christians believe, and I'm not arguing with their beliefs. If they have an issue with my beliefs, let them come and discuss it with me. But I won't hold them to account, because those are their beliefs.
Interviewer: It sounds as if you are declaring Christians to be infidels.
Mahmoud Amer: It's not me who declares them to be infidels.
Interviewer: Who then?
Mahmoud Amer: Do those Christians believe that Muhammad was the Messenger? If so, bring me written confirmation of this from the Vatican, or from the Orthodox Church.
Interviewer: You consider them infidels because they are not prepared to acknowledge that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah?
Mahmoud Amer: Let's say that somebody comes along, with the name of Muhammad Ibrahim Ahmad Hassan Hussein - these are all Muslim names - and says: "Muhammad is not the Prophet. I testify that there is no god but Allah, but Muhammad is not the Messenger"... Do I need Sheik Al-Azhar or the Academy of Islamic Studies [to see he is an infidel)? Is he a Muslim, or is he an infidel? We are talking about axioms here, guys. I don't care what he believes in.
Interviewer: Maybe not the Vatican, but there are churches like the Orthodox Church, which cooperate with Islam.
Mahmoud Amer: They all treat Islam as a done deal. That's one thing, but to believe in the Messenger of Allah and his prophecy is quite another.
Interviewer: What about the Orthodox priest who created a furor when he said that some verses of the Koran had been written after the death of the Messenger? He said: "after the death of Muhammad the Messenger," which means that he accepted the fact that Muhammad was the Messenger.
Mahmoud Amer: I am talking about something specific. Bring me confirmation from Patriarch Shinoda that says: "Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah," or from the Pope in the Vatican.
The secular stream is talking about things that are at the very foundation of the Islamic nation. Do you know what will happen if this situation continues?
I predicted what is happening now as early as 2007. If this battle with and mockery of the Muslim faith continues, Jihad will be justified from the Islamic legal perspective
Interviewer: You're talking about civil war.
Mahmoud Amer: I'm saying this as a warning: Do not make a mockery of the Muslim faith.
To those who ask: "How will they implement Islamic punishments when we have Christians among us?" I ask: Do the Christians want to have thieves in the country? Let's say there is a Muslim thief, and we implement Islamic punishments - if he says: "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His messenger," will the judge say he is innocent? Or will he chop off his hand? I don't understand...
Interviewer: Doesn't the shari'a say that every religious group should operate according to its own laws? In Coptic religious law, there is no chopping off of hands.
Mahmoud Amer: That pertains to one's personal affairs, not to the public domain. He can do whatever he likes in his church or in his own home. Nobody can say a thing. But when he goes out, into society - and it is a Muslim society - he must not undermine public order.
Interviewer: Today there was a protest in Al-Ramaya Square, held by cinematographers, artists, and tourism workers.
Mahmoud Amer: What were they protesting?
Interviewer: They were protesting against [Islamist] statements that art is prohibited...
Mahmoud Amer: What art? Explain this to me.
Interviewer: I will explain it to you, bur right now, I am just talking about the statements.
Mahmoud Amer: The art of the bedroom? Is that what they are calling art? On a TV channel - I won't mention names so as not to embarrass you... You are an honorable lady, and I don't want to offend the viewers either... The channel hosted a film director, whose films contain such things... things of the kind our Lord talked about in the Lot chapter of the Koran... Then I saw the man who directed these things...
Interviewer: You are referring to Khaled Youssef.
Mahmoud Amer: You said it, not me.
Interviewer: Yes, but that's who you're referring to.
Mahmoud Amer: I'm talking in general terms, not specifics. Call him Khaled Youssef, or Khaled Ibrahim, or whatever you like. I'm talking in general about the artists who held that demonstration or strike. What is this art of yours? The art of lesbians? The art of prostitutes? What reasonable Egyptian would say that it's okay? Hold a referendum. If the Egyptian people say "yes" to the films of the bedroom, by God I don't want to live among them.
We will be punished for this. Islam provides the worst punishment for this.
Interviewer: This has existed throughout recent years, but you did not oppose it.
Mahmoud Amer: I'm talking about the people. If the people say "yes" to films of the bedroom, to polytheism, or to idolatry, I will say "goodbye" to them. I don't have to live among them.