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September 14, 2012 157

Anti-Muslim Christian Activists Responsible For Inflammatory “Innocence of Muslims” Film

The anti-Islam film that has sparked con­sid­er­able out­rage and vio­lence across the Mid­dle East and Islamic world appears to be a prod­uct of sev­eral Chris­t­ian anti-Muslim activists.

Although the false claim that the film Inno­cence of Mus­lims was the work of an “Israeli Jew” received wide­spread atten­tion in the U.S. and abroad, recent reports indi­cate that the film was cre­ated, pro­duced and pro­moted by indi­vid­u­als con­nected to a net­work of anti-Muslim organizations.

The film, which was pro­duced dur­ing the sum­mer of 2011 and por­trays the Prophet Muham­mad as a child-molester, homo­sex­ual and phi­lan­derer, was adver­tised in the Anaheim-based Arab World news­pa­per under its orig­i­nal title, The Inno­cence of Bin Laden. The adver­tise­ment described the movie as reveal­ing the true iden­tity of the ter­ror­ists behind the killing of Mus­lims in Pales­tine, Iraq and Afghanistan. The adver­tise­ment also indi­cated that the film would be shown dur­ing Ramadan, and pro­vided a screen­ing date of June 30 at the Vine The­atre in Los Angeles.

Nakoula Bas­se­ley Nakoula

Screen­shot of “Inno­cence of Muslims”

Nakoula Bas­se­ley Nakoula, a 55-year-old California-based Cop­tic Chris­t­ian, appears to be the one respon­si­ble for cre­at­ing the impres­sion that the film was cre­ated and sup­ported by Jews. Accord­ing to Amer­i­can offi­cials in an inter­view with the Arabic-language tele­vi­sion sta­tion Al Hurra, Nakoula is the alleged pro­ducer and film­maker of the anti-Islam film. Nakoula ini­tially exposed his role to inter­na­tional media under the pseu­do­nym Sam Bacile, a fic­ti­tious indi­vid­ual that the Asso­ci­ated Press had ini­tially reported was “an Israeli film­maker based in Cal­i­for­nia.” In the inter­view with the AP, Nakoula, speak­ing under a pseu­do­nym, said the film cost $5 mil­lion to make “and was financed with the help of more than 100 Jew­ish donors.” These claims have since been dis­proved with the rev­e­la­tion that Sam Bacile does not exist.

Joseph Nas­ralla

Joseph Nas­ralla with Pamela Geller

Nas­ralla is a self-described “Cop­tic Chris­t­ian activist from Egypt” and founder of the California-based The Way TV, a satel­lite tele­vi­sion sta­tion devoted to mat­ters con­cern­ing Egypt’s Cop­tic com­mu­nity. He is also the founder and chief exec­u­tive of the California-based Media for Christ, the con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­t­ian pro­duc­tion com­pany report­edly respon­si­ble for pro­duc­ing Inno­cence of Mus­lims. Nas­ralla is con­nected to promi­nent anti-Muslim activists Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer and their con­spir­a­to­r­ial anti-Muslim orga­ni­za­tion, Stop Islamiza­tion of Amer­ica (SIOA). Accord­ing to Geller, Nas­ralla popped onto her radar fol­low­ing his atten­dance at the SIOA’s June 6, 2010 “D-Day Rally” in front of the pro­posed Islamic cen­ter in lower Man­hat­tan. In a let­ter addressed to Geller and Spencer fol­low­ing the rally, Nas­ralla described him­self as a refugee from “the oppres­sion of Islam” and said that he seeks to “expose to the Amer­i­can pub­lic what kind of insti­ga­tion we [Cop­tic Chris­tians] suf­fered at the hands of hate­ful Mus­lim preach­ers…” Since 2010, Nas­ralla has been invited to speak at var­i­ous SIOA events, includ­ing at SIOA’s 2010 and 2011 Sep­tem­ber 11 ral­lies in New York.

Mor­ris Sadek

Mor­ris Sadek with Terry Jones

Sadek, head of the U.S.-based National Cop­tic Assem­bly, an anti-Muslim orga­ni­za­tion that claims to rep­re­sent and speak on behalf of Egypt­ian Chris­t­ian Copts, was instru­men­tal in the film’s acces­si­bil­ity to the Arabic-speaking world. Sadek released the 14-minute trailer of the film on YouTube on Sep­tem­ber 5 with Ara­bic sub­ti­tles. Sadek claims to be the pres­i­dent of a Cop­tic state in Egypt and asserts that this inde­pen­dent Cop­tic state is under the occu­pa­tion of “Arab Mus­lim invaders.” Accord­ing to Sadek’s web­site, he fre­quently writes let­ters to Israeli lead­ers appeal­ing for their assis­tance in “lib­er­at­ing the Cop­tic state.” He also has a work­ing rela­tion­ship with con­tro­ver­sial Qur’an burn­ing Pas­tor Terry Jones of the Dove World Out­reach Cen­ter and has par­tic­i­pated in demon­stra­tions held by Jones and his church. On his per­sonal web­site, Sadek has voiced his sup­port for Jones’ dis­taste­ful mock­ery of the Prophet Muham­mad. Sadek also attended the 2010 ACT! for Amer­ica National Con­fer­ence. ACT! pro­motes the idea that Islam is a back­ward and sedi­tious polit­i­cal ide­ol­ogy and that Mus­lim immi­gra­tion to the U.S. must end.

Steve Klein

Steve Klein

Steve Klein is a California-based anti-Muslim Chris­t­ian activist and for­mer U.S. Marine who claims that he pro­vided con­sult­ing ser­vices for the pro­duc­tion of Inno­cence of Mus­lims. In a recent inter­view fol­low­ing the out­break of vio­lence in Cairo and Beng­hazi, Klein described the film as being designed to spark out­rage. In addi­tion to his alleged role in the film’s tech­ni­cal pro­duc­tion, Klein is founder and board mem­ber of Coura­geous Chris­tians United (CCU), an orga­ni­za­tion that protests out­side of mosques, abor­tion clin­ics and Mor­mon tem­ples. CCU issued a state­ment today denounc­ing the film and indi­cat­ing that Klein had been removed from the board. Many of the links on the group’s web­site redi­rect read­ers to sites designed to con­vince Mus­lims, Mor­mons or Jehovah’s Wit­nesses to con­vert to Chris­tian­ity. Klein is also the founder of Con­cerned Cit­i­zens for the First Amend­ment (CCFA), an anti-Muslim group whose pri­mary ini­tia­tive is to warn high school stu­dents that they are being brain­washed through courses and les­son on Islamic his­tory. He has spo­ken at con­fer­ences on the sub­ject of Islam at the Church at Kaweah, a mil­i­tant Chris­t­ian church base in California.

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