OTTAWA - Two Canadian human-rights activists say they fear for their lives after being wrongly linked to an anti-Muslim film that has sparked riots and protests around the world.

Nader Fawzy and Jacques Attalla said Thursday they are among a number of Coptic Christians who Egypt has accused of being involved in the production, distribution or promotion of the film, "Innocence of Muslims."

Both men both deny any link to the film. They told The Canadian Press they'd never heard of the amateurish movie until it began sparking violent protests across the Middle East last week.

Indeed, Fawzy had actually denounced the film in a statement issued on behalf of the Middle East Christian Association.

The two men, both Canadian citizens, say they believe they've been targeted because they've been outspoken activists against the persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt.

"I think the new Islamic regime in Egypt, they are trying to terror(ize) all the Coptic activists outside of Egypt to let them shut up, to keep quiet," Fawzy said in a telephone interview from his home in Toronto.

Fawzy's name appears on a list of seven Coptic Christians, plus Florida pastor Terry Jones, against whom Egypt's prosecutor general issued arrest warrants earlier this week for alleged involvement with the film.

The others are primarily based in the United States. They were all accused of offending Islam, insulting the Prophet Muhammad, inciting sectarian strife and jeopardizing the country's peace and independence.

Attalla said there are at least 10 other names which have been identified in the Arabic media as having arrest warrants issued against them. His name is among them.

"I am on the first list and they add a few more," Attalla said. "They consider us the most dangerous people because we are trying to save the lives of the Christian minority in Egypt in a very safe, very civilized way.

"We just write and we talk on the TV. That's all what we do. We never carry a weapon like them, we never threaten anybody, we never talk about religion or produce a movie. We don't have any money to do that."

Neither man is particularly worried about ever being prosecuted in Egypt, where they said they could theoretically face the death penalty. Neither intends to return to their homeland.

They are far more worried that senior Muslim clerics have offered a reward for killing them.

"You never know who is crazy, can come to shoot me for no reason," said Fawzy.

"There is a lot of people in Canada that can do it ... and in the States, they're willing to do anything for their religion. So I can't say because I'm in Canada that I'm fully safe."

Fawzy is particularly concerned about the safety of his mother and sister who still live in Egypt.

"They are two old ladies living alone ... so I am scared they can touch them."

Attalla, who has lived in Canada for 20 years, is sufficiently concerned about his safety that he asked that personal details, including the city where he and his children currently reside, be kept confidential.

"I feel my life is threatened," he said. "I need invisible protection and I need also protection for my family and I need a report from the police or the MPs, or whoever, that the government is taking care of its citizens."

Both men have spoken to their respective MPs about their concerns for their safety.

Toronto Liberal Jim Karygiannis, Fawzy's MP, said the federal government must challenge Egypt to show reason why arrest warrants have been issued against the two Canadians.

"The Canadian government must ask the Egyptian government for the evidence and, if the evidence is found to be insufficient, the Canadian government must demand that (the names) be removed from the list," he said.

Karygiannis said he believes the men should go to the police with their safety concerns. He also alerted Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird to the situation late Thursday, asking for his "immediate attention."

Related on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Muhammad Cartoons

    The September 2005 publication by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad unleashed a wave of violent protests by Muslims, who believe any image of their religion's founder is forbidden. Dozens of people were killed in weeks of protests that included violent attacks against Danish missions in Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and Lebanon. At least six people were killed in a June 2008 suicide bombing at the Danish embassy in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. Al-Qaida claimed responsibility, citing anger over the cartoons. The Danish government described the Muslim backlash as the country's worst international crisis since World War II.<br> <em>Caption: Pakistani Muslim men march during a demonstration in Karachi on May 18, 2008, to protest against Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him). (RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP/Getty Images)</em>

  • Satanic Verses

    British author Salman Rushdie's 1988 novel, "Satanic Verses," inspired in part by the life of Muhammad, won kudos from critics in Britain but prompted outrage among many Muslims, who considered it slanderous. Deadly riots against the book erupted in Islamabad, Pakistan and Mumbai, India, and the book was banned in South Africa, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and several other countries. Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a religious edict in 1989 calling for Rushdie's death, leading the writer to live in hiding for a decade. Although Rushdie was never physically harmed, his Japanese translator was stabbed to death in 1991 and his Italian translator was injured in a stabbing that same year. <br> <em>Caption: In this Saturday, March 17, 2012, handout photo, Indian-born author Salman Rushdie speaks at a conference in New Delhi, India. The controversial author of "The Satanic Verses" was forced to skip a literature fest in Jaipur owing to protests from a section of Muslims due to the alleged blasphemous content in his 1988 novel. (AP Photo/India Today Conclave)</em>

  • Van Gogh Assassination

    Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, an outspoken critic of Islam whose film "Submission" criticized the treatment of Muslim women, was shot dead in November 2004 as he bicycled in the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam. A 26-year-old Dutch citizen of Moroccan origin, Mohammed Bouyeri, was convicted of the murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. Van Gogh's assassination set off a wave of more than 170 small reprisal attacks against mosques and churches over the following weeks, according to a report by the Anne Frank Foundation and the University of Leiden.<br> <em>Caption: Portrait of controversial Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh (47) is seen in this undated file photo. Theo van Gogh was shot and stabbed to death on November 2, 2004, in Amsterdam. (Photo by BrunoPresse/Getty Images)</em>

  • 'Burn A Quran Day'

    A 2010 call by Florida preacher Terry Jones to burn Qurans on the ninth anniversary of 9/11 alarmed the U.S. military, which feared the move would endanger the lives of American troops fighting Islamist extremists in Afghanistan and Iraq. Although Jones called off the burning, thousands of Afghans encouraged by the Taliban set fire to tires in the streets of the Afghan capital, Kabul, and other cities and chanted "Death to America." Police in a province near Kabul fired shots in the air to disperse a crowd trying to storm the governor's residence. Jones' congregation went ahead with a Quran burning in March 2011, triggering protests across Afghanistan after video of the ceremony was posted on the Internet. In the most violent protest, hundreds of protesters stormed a U.N. compound in Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan, killing seven foreigners, including four Nepalese guards. <br><em>Caption: Pastor Terry Jones is escorted by Port Authority police officers as he leaves Laguardia airport, Friday, Sept. 10, 2010, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)</em>

  • More Quran Burning

    In February, U.S. soldiers at Bagram prison in Afghanistan burned 315 copies of the Qurans and other religious materials that had been taken from Bagram's facility library for disposal. Word of the burning, which the U.S. said was unintentional, triggered scores of anti-American protests across the country which left more than 30 Afghans and six U.S. soldiers dead. They included two U.S. troops who were shot by an Afghan soldier and two U.S. military advisers who were gunned down at their desks at the Afghan Interior Ministry. Six U.S. Army soldiers received unspecified administrative punishment for the burning, the Pentagon announced last month. <br><em>Caption: Afghan youth throw stones toward US soldiers standing at the gate of Bagram airbase during a protest against Koran desecration on February 21, 2012, at Bagram, about 60 kilometres (40 miles) north of Kabul. (SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images)</em>


Loading Slideshow...
  • Malaysia

    Malaysian Muslims shout a slogan as they march to the U.S. Embassy during a protest in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. A small peaceful demonstration was held Friday outside the U.S. Embassy in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

  • Indonesia

    Indonesian Muslims shout slogans as they hold a banner reads "Innocence of Muslims is the result of secular democracy" during a protest against the anti-Islam film that has sparked anger among followers, outside the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

  • Indonesia

    Indonesian Muslims shout slogans as they hold a banner which reads "Prophet Muhammad is symbol of Islam" during a protest against an anti-Islam film that has sparked anger among followers, outside the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

  • Indonesia

    Indonesian Muslims shout slogans as they hold a banner which reads "Prophet Muhammad is symbol of Islam" during a protest against an anti-Islam film that has sparked anger among followers, outside the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

  • Egypt

    Egyptian protesters run from the site of clashes with security forces, unseen, near the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, as part of widespread anger across the Muslim world about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad. (AP Photo/Ahmed Gomaa)

  • Egypt

    Egyptian protesters clash with security forces, not shown, near the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

  • Egypt

    Sinai Bedouin protest as part of widespread anger across the Muslim world about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad in the central Sinai oasis of Wadi Feran, Egypt, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Mohammed Sabry)

  • Egypt

    Egyptian protesters clash with security forces, unseen, near the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, as part of widespread anger across the Muslim world about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

  • Libya

    Libyan followers of Ansar al-Shariah Brigades burn the U.S. flag during a protest in front of the Tibesti Hotel, in Benghazi, Libya, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, as part of widespread anger across the Muslim world about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad. Around 150 members of Ansar al-Shariah Brigades chanted " Obama, Obama, we are all Osama." (AP Photo / Mohammad Hannon)

  • Jordan

    Jordanian riot police stand guard during a protest outside the U.S. embassy in Amman, Jordan, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, as part of widespread anger across the Muslim world about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad.(AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)

  • Jordan

    An Islamist Jordanian protester burn the U.S. flag near the U.S. embassy in Amman, Jordan, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, as part of widespread anger across the Muslim world about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad.(AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)

  • Jordan

    Islamist Jordanian protesters chant anti-U.S. slogans near the U.S. embassy in Amman, Jordan, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, as part of widespread anger across the Muslim world about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad.(AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)

  • Libya

    President Mohammed el-Megarif right, stands for a moment of silence during his visits to the U.S. Consulate to express sympathy for the death of the American ambassador, Chris Stevens and his colleagues in the deadly attack on the Consulate last Tuesday September 11, in Benghazi, Libya, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon)

  • Libya

    Libyan military guards check one of the U.S. Consulate's burnt out buildings during a visit by Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif, not shown, to the U.S. Consulate to express sympathy for the death of the American ambassador, Chris Stevens and his colleagues in the deadly attack on the Consulate last Tuesday, September 11, in Benghazi, Libya, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon)

  • Libya

    President Mohammed el-Megarif, front row second left, lays a wreath, during his visits to the U.S. Consulate to express sympathy for the death of the American ambassador, Chris Stevens and his colleagues in the deadly attack on the Consulate last Tuesday September 11, in Benghazi, Libya, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon)

  • Los Angeles

    Photographers' tripods are set up in front of the suburban Los Angeles home believed to be that of filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • Los Angeles

    A religious figure, shoes and a newspaper lie at the steps of the suburban Los Angeles home believed to be that of filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)