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April 18, 2013

Extremists and Conspiracy Theorists React to Boston Marathon Terrorist Attack

Forty-eight hours after Monday’s horrific terrorist attack targeting the Boston Marathon, which left 3 people dead and close to 200 injured, extremist and anti-government conspiracy theories about who was responsible are spreading across the Internet.

A screenshot from the anti-Semitic conspiracy website “nodisinfo.com.”

The lack of information currently available to the public about possible perpetrators has not kept extremists from jumping to conclusions.  Conspiracy theorists spanning the ideological spectrum – from anti-Muslim bigots to white supremacists – have accused different groups and individuals of perpetrating the bombing.

Here’s just a sampling of these accusations. A comprehensive overview of extremist reactions to the Boston attack can be found here: Boston Bombing Prompts Extremist Conspiracy Theories.

Conspiracy theorist Mark Glenn claimed that the bombing in Boston may have been orchestrated by Israel as a “way of not only rubbing manure in Barack Obama’s face” but also to demonstrate what Israel is capable of doing to the United States. He blamed the Jewish community and the State of Israel for a number of attacks against Americans, adding “You in the Jewish community and in the pro-Israel community…you have a criminal record.” Glenn concluded, “It is very possible that this is an Israeli false flag event, but we’ll have to wait and see.”

Others claimed they were sure Muslims were behind the attack. Quran-burning Florida pastor Terry Jones released a statement that read, “Is it an Islamic attack? It looks like it. The bombing came on Patriots Day. It has all of the earmarkings (sic) of an Islamic attack but will there again be a great coverup by the Great Satan Obama? His Administration, the people he has surrounded himself with, are all some type of closet Muslims, heavily influenced by Islam because of their background.”

Anti-government extremists have described the attack as a “false flag” operation orchestrated by the U.S. government as a pretext to curtail Americans’ civil liberties. 

Other extreme organizations seemed satisfied with the attack and went so far as to describe it as a divine act. The virulently homophobic Westboro Baptist Church, for example, announced that it would picket the victims’ funerals and that the attack was a result of God’s anger about gay rights in America.

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March 20, 2013

Ultra-Conservative Event to Feature Quran-Burning Pastor

Quran-burning Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center is scheduled to join a lineup of ultra-conservatives, Tea Party and anti-Muslim activists at the “Conservative Call to Action” conference. The event is planned for March 23 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The conference is intended to promote and discuss issues of importance to ultra-conservatives. Topics include “opposing abortion, fighting Islam, and defending the First and Second Amendments.” Scheduled speakers include political pundit Dinesh D’Souza, a once well-respected conservative author and political commentator who has been increasingly welcomed by ultra-conservative circles and anti-Muslim conspiracy theorists.

D’Souza is the former president of The King’s College in New York and, in 2012, he co-directed the conspiracy-laden documentary, “2016: Obama’s America,” in the run-up to the U.S. presidential elections. In the film, D’Souza conspiratorially alleges that President Obama plans to implement socialist policies that will result in the diminishment of America’s global power, and suggests that Obama will more fully adopt harmful policies in a second term.

Giving the conference a distinctly anti-Muslim tone will be Pastor Terry Jones, the virulently anti-Muslim, anti-gay leader of an apostolic church in Gainesville, Florida. Jones sparked international outrage in July 2010, when he announced his intention to hold an “International Burn a Koran Day” [sic] on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Through his website Stand Up America, Jones continues to galvanize Americans with his anti-Muslim, anti-abortion and anti-homosexuality agenda.

In addition to Jones and D’Souza, others scheduled to speak at the event include Tea Party video blogger and Islam “expert” known as “Wild Bill for America,” anti-abortion activist Melissa Ohden, former Conservative Party USA member Seth Riggio, and local conservative activist Michelle Morin.

On his personal website, Wild Bill claims to have had a career as a Duty Sheriff and a Deputy U.S. Marshal, and is “one of the first Tea Party members.” Citing his background in law enforcement, Wild Bill claims that he has “seen how [Islam] operates first hand,” and, “is well qualified to speak out about the dangers this religion presents.

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September 14, 2012

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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