News / USA

    California's Coptic Christians Condemn Anti-Islam Film

    California Coptic Christians say they are shocked that an Egyptian Coptic immigrant appears to be the producer of an inflammatory film that has sparked violent protests across the Muslim world.  They say the film violates the tenets of their faith.

    On Sunday, festival day at a Coptic church that is home to Christian immigrants from Egypt,  Bishop Serapion performed baptisms.

    But on the feast day of the one congregation's patron saints, thoughts turned to the homeland, which last week erupted in protests that have spread across the Muslim world.  

    Tuesday, a violent assault in Libya claimed the lives of four American diplomats, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, a respected figure.

    "Innocence of Muslims" Movie
    • Excerpts of the film were posted on YouTube in English and Arabic
    • The film depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a caricature
    • Reportedly financed by expatriate members of Egypt's Coptic Christian minority group
    • Promoted by Florida-based Christian Pastor Terry Jones, who burned a Quran in his church
    The protests were sparked by a film that ridicules the Prophet Muhammad.  It was privately produced, but demonstrators blame the U.S. government for it.  The California man thought to be behind the film, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, says he is a Coptic Christian.  He has served prison time for bank fraud and authorities questioned him on Saturday about possible violations of his parole.  The movie, widely seen by Muslims as offensive, is not illegal under the free speech provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

    Los Angeles Coptic Orthodox Bishop Serapion and other leaders of his church condemn the film.

    “Because we believe that is against our Christian faith, which we are against insulting the feelings of people,” he explained.

    The film is widely rejected within the Coptic community, says church member Maher Said.

    “We don't say bad things about any religion,” insisted Said.

    He says he is worried that some Muslims have unjustly blamed all Coptic Christians in the West for the film.

    These church members say they do not know alleged filmmaker Nakoula, but that the U.S. Coptic community has nothing to do with the movie, and that whoever produced it does not represent their faith, which demands respect for all religions.

    Photo Gallery: Anti-US Protests

    • An Egyptian protester throws back a tear gas canister towards the riot police during clashes near the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, September 14, 2012.
    • Sudanese policemen try to disperse protesters demonstrating outside the German Embassy in Khartoum, September 14, 2012.
    • Sudanese women chant slogans during a protest in Khartoum, Sudan, Sept. 14, 2012.
    • A protester sprays graffiti on a wall during a protest march to the U.S. embassy in Sanaa September 13, 2012.
    • Palestinians burn U.S. and Israeli flags during a protest against a film produced in the U.S. that they said that was insulting to Prophet Muhammad, in Gaza City, September 14, 2012.
    • A boy holds a toy gun during a protest in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Hilweh near Sidon, Lebanon, September 14, 2012.
    • Protesters chant slogans during a march to the U.S. Embassy in Doha, September 14, 2012.
    • Shi'ite Muslim supporters of the Imamia Student Organization (ISO) shout anti-American slogans during a protest rally in Islamabad, September 14, 2012.
    • Bangladeshi Muslims shout slogans as they participate in a protest in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Sept. 14, 2012.
    • A group of Kenyan muslims burn the U.S. flag following afternoon prayers outside the Sakina Jamia Mosque in the port city of Mombasa, Sept. 14, 2012.

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora