News / USA

    Man Allegedly Behind Anti-Islam Film Slams Protesters

    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.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.
    x
    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.
    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.
    VOA News
    A man who says he was behind the private film sparking demonstrations in the Muslim world is criticizing the protesters.

    In an interview with U.S.-government-funded Radio Sawa, the alleged director of the film says his fellow Arabs "have to learn demonstrate peacefully against the issues on which we disagree."  He says any allegation the United States government was involved in the making of the movie is "funny and 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.

    "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
    Several news organizations have linked the inflammatory film, titled "The Innocence of Muslims," to Nakoula, 55, an Egyptian Coptic Christian who lives in California and recently served a prison sentence for bank fraud.

    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.  He 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."

    Photo Gallery

    • 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.

    Translation of Sawa Interview with the film maker of “Innocence of Muslims”

    In a telephone interview with Radio Sawa, the man claiming to have made the film that triggered demonstrations in much of the Islamic world says he has no regrets about the project. The following is a translation of the interview that was conducted in Arabic:
    Filmmaker: I’m going to tell you the whole truth. All the names mentioned in the media outlets have nothing to do with my real name.
    Sawa: So, introduce yourself to the readers and listeners. Who are you?
    Filmmaker: I am an Islamic affairs researcher since 1985 or 1986. When I claim things I always provide documentations and proof. I started my researches since I heard about certain events that concern the Muslims.
    Sawa: What are the events that prompted you to write about Islam and Muslims?
    Filmmaker: The events that took place in Iran when they started to expel the Jews and the people of other faiths out of Iran.  The second thing that followed that was Salman Rushdie’s book. He was a man who wrote a book that has nothing to do with Islam. The Muslims put a bounty of $5 million to have him killed and I was angered by that. This was an intellectual terrorism.
    Sawa: Those events were the reason that prompted you to write about Islam?
    Filmmaker: Of course. And by the way, I graduated from the Faculty of Arts, Cairo University
    Sawa: There are media reports that say that you are the producer of the movie “Innocence of Muslims.” are you?
    Filmmaker: I am the screenwriter of the movie.
    Sawa: Who produced the movie?
    Filmmaker:  I am not going to disclose the identity of the producer.
    Sawa: Some are saying that the United States was involved.
    Filmmaker: This is funny and ridiculous. America has nothing to do with the film. What is being said about America being the producer of the movie is not logical at all. It is only a way to find an excuse to blame America. …The movie was produced in a very primitive way just to deliver a message. Now there are prominent producers and directors who plan to produce other movies.
    Sawa: Are you claiming that there are other movies in the pipeline?
    Filmmaker:  This is what I heard, but can’t confirm this.
    Sawa: What made you decide to write the script of the movie?
    Filmmaker:  I wrote a book in 1993 or 1994. The producers liked the book and asked me to write a movie script about it.
    Sawa: What was the title of that book?
    Filmmaker:  I refuse to mention the title of the book because this will reveal my true identity.
    Sawa: Some of the actors in the movie claim that you misled them and the original script was not the same as the final product. Is that true?
    Filmmaker:  Absolutely not. Those actors are not members of a professional acting association and therefore do not have the right to appeal the final product. The producer has the right to change the movie’s name or script as he wishes. However, I don’t blame them for claiming that they were misled to protect themselves from any harm. All that is owed them is pay for their acting. Nothing else.
    Sawa: Did you anticipate the film would cause such strong reactions?
    Filmmaker:  No I did not expect that, but the producer and director assured me not to worry.
    Sawa: How did you feel about the violent reaction in the Islamic world and the death of the U.S. Ambassador in Libya?
    Filmmaker:  First, the U.S. ambassador’s death has nothing to do with the film. The people who did this are thugs and thieves. I have a question for those people: If you are defending the Prophet, why do you steal from embassies? President Sadat said in the past: "Such is an uprising of thugs. America is a victim of injustice in this case. What does the U.S. government have to do with these subjects? If a person anywhere in the world does something, should a government be held responsible?  Of course not. We have to learn demonstrate peacefully against the issues on which we disagree.  But it seems that Omar Suleiman was right when he said, "We are not yet ready for democracy."
    Sawa: After the death of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, do you regret the making of the film?
    Filmmaker:  No, I do not regret it. I am saddened for the killing of ambassador, but I do not regret making it.
    Sawa: If you had the chance again would you produce the same film?
    Filmmaker:  I believe that I’ve done my part.  I am no longer a young man. I've decided to retire. That is enough for me.
    Sawa: Do you have any kind of security protection given the strong reaction to the movie?
    Filmmaker:  Absolutely not. Nobody knows my name. I never had any kind of protection and why would I need protection while living a normal life.
    Sawa: Dozens of the Coptic organization in Egypt have denounced the movie.
    Filmmaker:  They have the right to do so, and they have nothing to do with the movie and I have nothing to do with them. I want to say that I did not come up with any information other than what is written in the Islamic books. I added nothing of my own.
    Sawa: Have you read the Quran?
    Filmmaker:  Of course I have read the Quran, the Hadiths and more that 3,000 Islamic books.
    Sawa: Do you believe that that only Islam has negative sides? What are your views about Judaism and Christianity, for example?
    Filmmaker:  I am an average reader about other religions and I can write about Judaism and Christianity if I ever resume writing.
    Sawa: I see that you are defending America a lot in our interview?  Do you have a sense of guilt for what happened?
    Filmmaker:  Yes, I feel guilty. America has got nothing to do with this film.
    Sawa: Do you have a message to the world that you want to relay through your interview with Radio Sawa?
    Filmmaker:  Yes. I want the world to watch the movie in its entirety. The duration of the movie is 1.55 hours. Then you can judge for yourselves. I’m now thinking about posting the whole movie on the internet.
    Sawa: The US department of State and President Obama denounced that movie.
    Filmmaker: President Obama is responsible for the lives of 400 million Americans and he has all the right to say anything and use any means to protect his people. In the end, I would like to relay my condolences to the United States for the death of the U.S. Ambassador and the other Embassy staff.

    You May Like

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
        Next 
    by: Murat from: Turkey
    September 20, 2012 3:34 AM
    Hi Jeff,

    Please read about the Conquest of Mecca (by our Prophet), Conquest of Jerusalem (both by Muslims and by Christians). After that, please compare the behavors of Muslims and Christian to see how they act as a winner.

    by: Murat from: Turkey
    September 16, 2012 5:20 AM
    For correction.. You (particulary the Christian people) are always deceived by the orientalist authors,who generally mislead people by the "fabricated Hadiths'and some information that have been poorly documented. First of all, you shoud know the fact that such sources are not valid as a reference.They have been invented by the factious people with intent to weaken Islam during the period in which they cannot reveal their hatred against İslam. If you want to know about Islam, you should learn it from conscious Muslims (not from orientalists, wahhabis or salafis).

    by: jeff from: new mexico
    September 16, 2012 2:38 AM
    You are kidding me Zahidah? It is no use trying to say that Islam and Christianity can unite! Sharia law and the united States Constitution are in no way compatible. No way can they exists in the same court or country. I can give you thousands of verse from your unholy quran that deprives you of making peace with other faiths(unbelievers). Here is but 3.
    "O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people." Koran (5:51) "Muslims that make friends with disbelievers will face a doom prepared for them by Allah." Koran (5:80) "Fight the disbelievers and hypocrites. Be harsh with them. They are all going to hell anyway." Koran (9:73)

    Wake up America. This liberal political acceptance BS is like cancer, just as the islamist propaganda you are fed.

    by: Zahidah from: New York
    September 15, 2012 9:57 PM
    The timing of this scheme and the media promotion has caused a very dangerous and inflammatory atmosphere. The devil in human form is using this film to set in motion a devious stratagem to incite Muslims and Christians to attack one another. The people of God see the invisible hands that are working fervently to bring about the clash of two great nations Islam and Christianity. This plot seeks to undermine the Muslim Christian unity movement in America and elsewhere. These movements have been working for the sake of peace and understanding between the two religions for the past several years. Muslims love and revere blessed Jesus son of holy mother Mary. The Sufi creed that “mankind is the family of God” is the foundation for this unity. Therefore, we as adherents of faith must not fall victim to the devices of the devil and stay far away from any type of violence.

    by: Anonymous
    September 15, 2012 9:11 PM
    the movie took what is written in the islamic books and made this movie, nothing outside their books, they don't read and if they read they don't understand .

    by: Karina from: California
    September 15, 2012 7:31 PM
    At Debra: Has it been determined that the filmmaker(s) are U.S. citizens?

    by: Murat from: Turkey
    September 15, 2012 7:00 PM

    You never know how much we love and respect our Prophet, who was insulted in a film directed and sponsored by the enemies of Islam. There are thousands of people who are ready to die for His name; and you can not know who they are. They may appear at any point of the world. So, it is clear that some people are looking for trouble and surely they will find it sooner or later. It is quite normal.

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    September 15, 2012 7:50 AM
    Please crown this man as the most successful film maker in history for being able to evoke instant worldwide reaction to his works. He is a hero. He has done the world the greatest honor for exposing the depravity of the muslim world and their deep-rooted hatred for anything and anyone not one of them. The world owes this man a lot of gratitude for this onerous disclosure. A million thanks, Mr. Film Maker!

    by: djvj from: Chicago
    September 15, 2012 4:00 AM
    The man read 3000 books on Islam. let us do some math. let us assume that he started reading islamic books and not kids books since the first day of his life this means he read 5 books a month or 60 books a year or 3000 books and I say islamic books a year . SOMETHING DOES NOT ADD UP... Just as Bill Clinton Said Arithmetic!

    by: sagar
    September 14, 2012 9:52 PM
    USA have been crossed every boundary now, its obvious that they r against Muslims and Islam.
    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora