News / USA

US Authorities Question Man Allegedly Behind Anti-Islam Film

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (C) is escorted out of his home by Los Angeles County Sheriff's officers in Cerritos, California, September 15, 2012.Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (C) is escorted out of his home by Los Angeles County Sheriff's officers in Cerritos, California, September 15, 2012.
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Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (C) is escorted out of his home by Los Angeles County Sheriff's officers in Cerritos, California, September 15, 2012.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (C) is escorted out of his home by Los Angeles County Sheriff's officers in Cerritos, California, September 15, 2012.
VOA News
U.S. probation officials in California have questioned the man allegedly behind the controversial film that sparked violent protests in the Muslim world.

Sheriff's officials said Saturday that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was questioned in Cerritos near his home for possible probation violations stemming from a 2010 bank fraud conviction.

They say the terms of his probation include a five year ban on using computers or the Internet, without approval from a probation officer.

Police say Nakoula left his home voluntarily to be interviewed by federal authorities. Authorities say he was not arrested or detained.

The film, titled The Innocence of Muslims, sparked protests in regions including the Middle East, Africa and Asia because it mocked the Prophet Muhammad.

In an earlier interview with U.S.-government-funded Radio Sawa, the alleged director of the film said his fellow Arabs "have to learn to demonstrate peacefully."  He said any allegation the U.S. government was involved in the making of the movie is "ridiculous" and that "America has nothing to do with the film."

Radio Sawa says the man refused to confirm his identity, but that a source who provided the contact information identified him as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.

Several news organizations have linked the inflammatory film to Nakoula, a 55-year-old Egyptian Coptic Christian.

Initially, the film was said to have been produced by a man named Sam Bacile, who told news media he is Israeli-American.  A consultant on the film confirmed the name "Sam Bacile" was a pseudonym.  There is no record of the film or its producer in Hollywood reference sources.  

The man believed to be Nakoula tells Radio Sawa he did not expect the film would cause such strong reactions from the Arab and Muslim world, saying the film's other producers "put my mind at ease."  But he also says all the film's advisers were "foreigners who do not know anything about Arabs and have never visited Arab countries."

During a protest over the film outside the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, Tuesday, armed militants killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. staff members.

Nakoula says he is saddened by the deaths, but that he does not regret making the film.  Nakoula also rejected allegations made by some of the actors and crew members that they were tricked into making the movie.

When asked if he misled the actors and crew, he said "This is a producer’s right. He can put what he wants in the film without consulting the actors... my answer to them is that they do not belong to a professional association."

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by: Naila Bashir from: Pakistan
September 17, 2012 6:18 AM
USA see ur double standards on freedom of expression and Blasphemy. "USA government has nothing to do with this movie" oh mam look at this.

by: mar s from: usa
September 16, 2012 11:01 PM
this guy is a IDIOT the muslim comunity all ready dislike us see freedum is a responsability not a stupidity if he thinks he did good well I hope the he can bare the responsabilty of the many american people tha may loose ther life becouse his acctions IDIOT.

by: zameer from: India
September 16, 2012 10:29 AM
It is not good sign of humanity USA tries to destroy the Muslim counteries but it is deadly impossible. USA should learn lesson from Russia. Russia was not only divided but destroyed by Talibans same will happen with USA. piresent situation USA is not superpower now it is bipolar. Shame on Obama and big shame on USA

by: Zayeem Ansari from: Patna, India
September 16, 2012 6:09 AM
Freedom of speech does not mean to make mockery of someone or abuse someone or his/her family or a group, otherwise riots would trigger.
In Response

by: Jesse from: US
September 16, 2012 6:22 PM
That is literally exactly what freedom of speech means. Riots, however are not covered by the freedom of speech.

by: Wizenup
September 16, 2012 12:31 AM
What prevents anyone with extremist views, producing such a film, inside or outside a country and then entering another country and circulate it to foment international unrest? However ethnic violence against other religious groups is another issue and closer examination of such events portrays how fragile toleration of other religions is, in certain countries and how easily people are manipulated by radicals in the name of religion.

by: Kevin from: Boston
September 15, 2012 11:25 PM
I can't believe that we as American's are losing our freedom of speech. So now no one can speak there mind because someone else will get mad at it and then we will get arrested because someone else doesn't agree. We don't start rioting in the streets when an American gets killed in the middle east by those fanatical people. It is so ridiculos the government will make excuses for those killers and not defend America.

by: daniel from: seattle
September 15, 2012 9:44 PM
Our constitution's 1st amendment especially protects unpopular speech, since speech that offends no one needs no protection. The director has the absolute right to make his movie, no matter that others disagree with it's content. He didn't cause worldwide protests, he made his movie and the protesters decided to riot and burn and kill. Differing from lesser animals, humans DECIDE to react to something, and therefore are always responsible. No one could make the protesters act, it is all on them.
What does the filmmaker deserve? What did the ambassador and others deserve? Has anyone ever taken offense at one of your opinions? Do you "deserve" whatever immature violent reaction someone could visit upon you? In a world of adults, people express opinions, others express theirs, and that's it; no one deserves violent attack and death for an opinion.
The Coptic Christians in Egypt have been persecuted for millenia, but especially since the fall of Mubarak. So, it would have been very nice if journalists could have avoided pointing out the director's background (after all, he is American, right?), as such data will be one more motivation for Islamist radicals to attack them more. Of course it wouldn't be a problem if they could just grow up and live with criticism, as we civilized people do every day. Remember, the same people (Islamist radicals) rioted and murdered when they saw a mere cartoon from Denmark.

by: SuperiorPoliticsDotCom from: Minnesota
September 15, 2012 10:57 AM
Nice. The guy has a probation violation. Nobody seemed to know or even cared before this film.

This is the slippery slope towards the liberal thought police deciding what you can and can't say. Use a probation "violation" for cover.
In Response

by: 100 % ETHIO from: North-Pole
September 15, 2012 3:25 PM
He did what he does for living. Anything that he make out of the Movie, goes to his pocket.
Anything that happened and will happened, will applied to him, individually, but it has nothing to do his Religion, his Country,...

Perception, is what fuelled those protesters. They should use legal methods and Religious consultation, instead of physical violence.

We all live under the Rules, no matter where we reside. But, jumping into murder and other physical attacks, doesn't serve anyone.

Why do you think we prayed??
Christians pray to their God, to achieve ...
Jewish pray to their God, to achieve ...
Muslims pray to their God, to achieve ...
Hindu, Sikhs,...pray to their God, to achieve ...

So, why not pray, if we believe in our God????

Planet Earth is keep burning and shucking, please let us pray for it. It cares all of us.

Peace to all.
In Response

by: Will from: Indiana
September 15, 2012 12:17 PM
The law works both ways. It protects his right to free speech no matter how hateful, but it also punishes him for his mistake (bank fraud). A convicted felon who violated the term of his probation and causing riots worldwide deserves no leniency.

by: Mian Ahmad from: Renton, WA
September 15, 2012 10:30 AM
In Quraan (religiousBook for guidance of humanity) it has clear written that "Don't say any bad words regarding Deity of other faiths
so that they should not use the same wording about yours Allah".
We all must respect each other and make this world peaceful.
In Response

by: Gilgamesh from: USA
September 16, 2012 6:39 PM
So you're saying that the bible is against free speech?
In Response

by: Mike from: California
September 16, 2012 2:25 PM
There are a number of quotes from the Quraan which would shed light on the topic at hand. It seems that picking and choosing is a human trait practiced the world over.
In Response

by: Plain Mirror from: Plain planet
September 16, 2012 5:34 AM
... simply right. I do not know Quraan. But if this is what Quraan stated, that is simply right. Freedom has limit. When it comes to words and expressions, when wrongly applied or addressed to someone, the Holy Christain bible calls it murder. It is not only when one uses physical weapon to kill, that is murder, NO! people kill through their tounge and attitude to others. So, the man who produced the film is a murderer and should be treated as such.

by: Sam from: Owen
September 15, 2012 10:30 AM
Reveling the name, heritage, and religion of the man behind the movie can only bring misery to him, his family, and those who belong to his religion in his country of origin. Maybe it makes good reporting but surly irresponsible one.
In Response

by: Will from: Indiana
September 16, 2012 2:38 AM
Do you think what Nakoula did can be called 'responsible'? You have to be living under a rock to not know the kind of reaction this movie would get. If you choose not to fault him for the violence, then you can not possibly blame the reporters for it. Reporters have the moral obligation to reveal the truth, good or bad
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