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: eCharleen from: Portland
September 15, 2012 10:10 AM
This man is exercising free-speech rights and he's being questioned? Where's Hollywood on this? They were happy to defend the crucifix in a cup of urine. Where are the hotshots now?
In Response

by: Mike from: California
September 16, 2012 2:19 PM
Raising money for the President's re-election?

by: MIke from: California
September 15, 2012 9:58 AM
Shame on the Los angeles "law enforcement" industry for even talking to the film maker. Is this Putin's Russia? Is this Communist China? Allegations of probation violations being used to create the impression of giving-in to the nutcases in the sand box is the wrong message. The terrorist politicians in the middle east must be very satisfied that it appears to the world that the U.S. government is weak and easily manipulated. Its like children are running the U.S. government.
In Response

by: Plain Mirror from: Plain Planet
September 16, 2012 6:00 AM
"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." Please, what is going on here? It appears obviously that the US has indeed lost its bearing. This event is a wake up call to the US. Its democracy is weighing heavily now on it and its people. It Seems it can no longer control its people on the grounds of freedom. Anarchy is gradually knocking on the US door with the trend of undue freedom forgotting that right from the begining of creation of man was given restrictions. Do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil puts a limit to the freedom of man and the US should stop deceiving its own people and the entire world. The campaign of undue freedom is devilish and devil's stratage to ruin mankind the more. Remember the devil promised it to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden and got them ruined down to generations. What actually is the US in this present time? This is a spiritual question and only of the spirit shall one answer this perfectly.

by: redd from: california
September 15, 2012 9:41 AM
I'm no attorney but it seems like the intent here is obvious.
This guys deserves what is coming.
Those that have already died did not...
In Response

by: Mike from: California
September 16, 2012 2:17 PM
What? ". . deserves what is coming?" People with that attitude simply do not get it. Pathetic, really.

We defend the Constitution and others' rights because by doing so we defend our own rights at the same time. We prevent would-be dictators from ruling us, and prevent ourselves from ruling others. We reject mob-rule. We must resist it when we see it and never give-in.

All that and I am not an attorney!
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