News / USA

Inflammatory Film Has Unclear Origins

Mike O'Sullivan
An obscure film that ridicules the Prophet Muhammad has been blamed for sparking protests across the Middle East, and the violent assault Tuesday that claimed the lives of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three embassy workers in Libya.  The film was largely unheard of until a promotional clip was translated into Arabic on the Internet.

Little is known about the origins of the film beyond a 14-minute trailer that appeared on the Internet.  Called "The Innocence of Muslims," 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 says that name is a pseudonym, and there are suggestions that the man behind the film is an Egyptian Coptic Christian who lives in California.  There is no record of the film or its producer in Hollywood reference sources.  

The video clip was posted to YouTube in early July, and appears to have been made mostly with amateur actors on a low budget.  It shows the persecution of Egyptian Coptic Christians. It also portrays the Prophet Muhammad as a buffoon and womanizer who endorses child abuse.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights group, believes the film would have remained obscure, but extremist groups in Egypt and Libya have used it to advance their agenda.  He notes that the attacks and protests coincided with the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

“Never mind the families at Ground Zero who are reading out the names of their loved ones, the memorial candles being lit.  We don't like to see that kind of coverage, so we're going to do what we can to get our world view out there, which is a conspiratorial world view," Cooper said.

Cooper says if the film had not been produced, extremists would have found another pretext for their attacks. He says there are questions he would like answered by those who made it.

“Why they made the film, and who exactly wrote the script, who paid for it?,” Cooper said.

None of that is yet clear, but the controversial Florida pastor Terry Jones has promoted the film.  He is known for sparking deadly riots in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011 with threats - later carried out - to burn the Quran.

Political analyst Josh Lockman, who teaches international law at the University of Southern California, says we live in an age of of hyper-expedited news, when an action in Florida or Afghanistan can trigger passions half a world away.  He says country-to-country relations are sometimes out of the hands of professional diplomats.

“Neither the U.S. government nor the Libyan government are responsible for either the film which was produced, or the horrific terrorist attack which occurred, killing Ambassador Stevens and three other diplomats.  But both governments have to reckon with the inflammatory by-products of private actors,” Lokman said.

Several news organizations have linked the inflammatory film to an Egyptian American, 55-year-old Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who lives in California and once was convicted of bank fraud.  Nakoula says he handled logistics for the production.

Another California man who says he served as a consultant, Steve Klein, has given conflicting accounts of the film's origin and funding.  Klein is the founder of anti-Muslim and other hate groups.  According to the U.S. Poverty Law Center, which maintains a list of such groups, Klein has conducted paramilitary training at the compound of a militant Christian church in California.

Actors and crew members from the controversial film say the producer misled them.  Several have said they were shocked at the final production and appalled by its message.  They say there was no reference to the Prophet Muhammad in the original script and that new dialogue was dubbed after production.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: gloria from: denver
September 17, 2012 10:46 AM
171501, What I would like to know is why muslims and most immingrants alway's feel the're the victims? I was recentley at a hotel with my husband and I was called a white Nigger from a Muslium so called sister, her and her musliium relatives who happens to be with them were nothing but fifteen and siteen year olds, so if Muslim are not sitting around at the dinner table preaching hate,America is fooling them self"s the middle easterns that come to America and Canada a treaded much better than we are,so in that case of cousrse the so called prophit preach hate and have been for century's America and Canada governorment allowed it to go on with out saying anything for years up until afte 911.


by: JubariS from: yemen
September 14, 2012 3:42 AM
The fact that this trailer has been lying down on Youtube since two months clearly depicts that the violence and riots as well complicating the Arab-Islamic world/US relation, nevertheless, in my country, local beneficiaries of this crisis, used it to weaken the Yemen-USA relation using bunch of ragtag and bobtail to make a point that the government is weak not able to defend foreign intrests in Yemeni capital!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid