Anti-Islamic Film, Who, What and Where?

There has been considerable discussion and research into the controversial anti-Islamic film which apparently sparked riots.

The initial information looked questionable, but even Glenn Greenwald couldn’t see the obvious.

Why would the originator of the film claim to be an Israeli-American and say “”cost $5m to make and was financed with the help of more than 100 Jewish donors”.

Only Jewish donors? It doesn’t ring true, sounds like the sort of statement that a bigot might make.

Now Gawkers has more, It Makes Me Sick’: Actress in Muhammed Movie Says She Was Deceived, Had No Idea It Was About Islam:

“The story of the Muhammed movie which sparked deadly protests in Libya and Egypt gets weirder. The actors who appeared in it had no idea they were starring in anti-Islam propaganda which depicts Muhammed as a child molester and thug. They were deceived by the film’s director, believing they were appearing in a film about the life of a generic Egyptian 2,000 years ago.

Cindy Lee Garcia, an actress from Bakersfield, Calif., has a small role in the Muhammed movie as a woman whose young daughter is given to Muhammed to marry. But in a phone interview this afternoon, Garcia told us she had no idea she was participating in an offensive spoof on the life of Muhammed when she answered a casting call through an agency last summer and got the part.

The script she was given was titled simply Desert Warriors. “

Huff Post has a lot more:

“LOS ANGELES — The search for those behind the provocative, anti-Muslim film that triggered mobs in Egypt and Libya led Wednesday to a California Coptic Christian convicted of financial crimes who acknowledged his role in managing and providing logistics for the production.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, told The Associated Press in an interview outside Los Angeles that he was manager for the company that produced “Innocence of Muslims,” which mocked Muslims and the prophet Mohammed and was implicated in inflaming mobs that attacked U.S. missions in Egypt and Libya. He provided the first details about a shadowy production group behind the film.

Nakoula denied he directed the film and said he knew the self-described filmmaker, Sam Bacile. But the cellphone number that AP contacted Tuesday to reach the filmmaker who identified himself as Sam Bacile traced to the same address near Los Angeles where AP found Nakoula. Federal court papers said Nakoula’s aliases included Nicola Bacily, Erwin Salameh and others.

Nakoula told the AP that he was a Coptic Christian and said the film’s director supported the concerns of Christian Copts about their treatment by Muslims. “

Jeff Goldberg had this pegged earlier on, Muhammad-Film Consultant: ‘Sam Bacile’ Is Not Israeli, and Not a Real Name:

“He said the man who identified himself as Bacile asked him to help make the anti-Muhammad film. When I asked him to describe Bacile, he said: “I don’t know that much about him. I met him, I spoke to him for an hour. He’s not Israeli, no. I can tell you this for sure, the State of Israel is not involved, Terry Jones (the radical Christian Quran-burning pastor) is not involved. His name is a pseudonym. All these Middle Eastern folks I work with have pseudonyms. I doubt he’s Jewish. I would suspect this is a disinformation campaign.”

I asked him who he thought Sam Bacile was. He said that there are about 15 people associated with the making of the film, “Nobody is anything but an active American citizen. They’re from Syria, Turkey, Pakistan, they’re some that are from Egypt. Some are Copts but the vast majority are Evangelical.” “

Of course, if someone, say a Christian, who wanted to place the blame on Jews he might adopt an Israeli-American alias and suggest that his film was financed by Jews. To stir the pot.

Ultimately such a ploy could only aid antisemitism, and presumably someone capable of putting out horrible anti-Muslim bigotry wouldn’t be too concerned if racism against Jews occurred.

Update 1: The media has been busy trying to locate those behind that dreadful film, over at the LA Times:

“In a run-down theater on a seedy stretch of Hollywood Boulevard this summer, an independent movie made its debut. The acting was amateurish, the dialogue clunky and the costumes no better than those sold for Halloween. Even with a pretty young woman beckoning pedestrians inside, fewer than 10 people attended.

But three months later, the movie — “Innocence of Muslims” — would be blamed the world over for inciting mobs in Egypt and Libya. The movie was filmed and first released in Southern California, but much else about its origins remains a mystery.

The trailer posted in July appears to have attracted little notice. But last week, a second version of the trailer was posted — this time in Arabic. Morris Sadek, an Egyptian-American Christian activist who has been a virulent critic of Islam, began promoting the trailer on his Facebook page, saying that it revealed the “truth” about Muhammad’s life.

Subsequently Al-Nas, an Egyptian television channel, began broadcasting clips. Protests in Egypt and Libya quickly followed and became violent. “

Update 2: SPLC has a blog post on the film’s script consultant:

“Steve Klein, the leader of a California hate group, says that Islam is a “penis-driven religion” whose followers have “no choice but to hunt Jews and Christians down, torture us and murder us.”

Klein of Hemet, Calif., who has a long history of ties to militant Christian organizations, has been identified as one of the brains behind the anti-Muslim film that triggered violence in northern Africa, including a rocket attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the murder of Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

Much like Terry Jones, the Florida pastor whose much-hyped Koran burning sparked mob riots that led to at least a dozen deaths in Afghanistan last spring, Klein is an anti-Muslim ideologue who knew exactly the risks he was taking. “

Update 3: Richard Bartholomew takes a critical look at the issues.

Update 4: Real Libyans distance themselves from recent attack, ‘This Does Not Represent Us’: Moving Photos of Pro-American Rallies in Libya.

Update 5: Abu Dhabi’s The National takes a different perspective, The politics of outrage is still an irresistible temptation:

“One can understand how the tragic events in Libya might have happened – the country is awash with weapons and radical groups, while the central government appears to have little control over security.

Egypt’s case is fortunately less serious, although the damage to Egypt’s image by extremist protesters hoisting the jihadist flag on the anniversary of September 11 is already quite enough. But the event in Egypt is more puzzling and complicated.

Why does the government, in the main headline of its flagship daily Al Ahram, turn a protest of at most 2,000 people into a sign of “popular anger”? What does it say about the state of sectarian relations, and politics generally, that Salafists took part in the protest alongside Coptic activists (denouncing the participation of a single Coptic émigré in the film) and football fans with, apparently, nothing better to do? Why is the government condemning the lack of security at the embassy while the president’s political movement, which just spent the last week wooing American investors, calls for more protests? We are still far from the hoped-for improvement in the substance of politics and leadership.

The fear now is that these protests will spread from Egypt and Libya, where they began, causing more deaths and prompting more craven stupidity. The resulting cascade of outrage is now predictable: Islamophobes in the West will say “we told you they’re fanatics” and the crowd-riling demagogues here will say “we told you they disrespect us”. And politicians everywhere will use the language of outrage in their petty calculations. “

Update 6: Laura Rozen on The Filmmaker Who Wasn’t:

“So who is Bacile? And who is Steve Klein?

A trace of the cell phone number used by “Sam Bacile” led the AP to a man named Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, outside Los Angeles Wednesday. Nakoula, of Egyptian background, acknowledged to the AP that he had been a manager for the company which produced the video, but denied he directed it. Court records show that Nakoula was convicted of federal bank fraud in 2010 and sentenced to 21 months in prison.

The AP said it had originally been given Bacile’s cell phone by Morris Sadek, an Egyptian-American Copt and anti-Islamic activist who is a principal with the National American Coptic Assembly. Coptic groups sharply distanced themselves from Sadek and the film, and expressed sorrow for the violence in Egypt and Libya.

E-mails to Sadek and a message left by Al-Monitor at the National American Coptic Assembly offices in Chantilly, Va., were not immediately returned. Efforts by Al-Monitor to reach Klein Wednesday were also unsuccessful.

Klein describes himself in the bio of a self-published 2010 work, Is Islam Compatible with The Constitution, as a Vietnam vet who since 9/11 has used contacts in the Arabic Christian diaspora community as translators as he has scoured Southern California mosques hunting for terrorist cells. “With 9/11, 2001 I immersed myself with Islam in America; went to every major Mosque in SoCal with Arabic speaking Christians as translators and uncovered useful information about many Mosques being the headquarters of terrorism in America,” Klein wrote.

In a 2007 interview, Klein said that through a group that he had founded, called Middle Eastern Experts’ Team (MEET) “and his contacts with the Coptic community he has been asked to give his insights to the FBI and the U.S. Marine Corps.”

An examination of California public records by Al-Monitor shows that in July 2011, Klein registered a group called the Concerned Citizens for the First Amendment (CCFA) as a California business. The group has reportedly staged a few protests in front of Southern California high schools in 2011 to express opposition to mosques. “

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