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.
x
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."

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
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
Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More