Pornographer behind Anti-Islam film

2012-09-15 16:43

Los Angeles - The inflammatory anti-Islam film that has triggered rioting across the Muslim world was produced by a US religious group called Media for Christ and reportedly directed by a pornographer.

The man apparently behind the film - entitled Innocence of Muslims on its 14-minute YouTube trailer - is a US-based Egyptian Copt and fraudster who may have violated his parole, US officials said on Friday.

The film was directed by 65-year-old Alan Roberts, a veteran whose prior oeuvre was dominated by schlock soft porn and hammy action with titles like Young Lady Chatterley II and Karate Cop, according to website Gawker.

Gawker interviewed members of the cast of Innocence of Muslims, who say they were duped into appearing in what they thought was a fictional epic, only to discover their lines had been dubbed over with anti-Muslim propaganda.

Roberts's casting call lists the leading roles as George, Condalisa and Hillary, but in the finished version, the script was doctored to make them represent the Prophet Muhammad and figures from the Qur'an.

The film was promoted by a network of right-wing Coptic and Evangelical Christians with a radical anti-Muslim agenda, like Egyptian American provocateur Morris Sadek and Terry Jones, a Florida pastor notorious for publicly burning a Qur'an.

Film legal

And, acting as "consultant", was Steve Klein, a Vietnam veteran and founder of Courageous Christians United who is notorious for protests outside mosques and Mormon temples and who said he helped the moviemakers.

The film itself does not appear to have broken any US laws, but Nakoula Bassily Nakoula, the 55-year-old Egyptian Copt believed to have written the film, may have breached the rules governing his conditional release from prison.

"The matter is under review," said a spokesperson for the Administrative Office of the US Courts.

A 2009 indictment from a US District Court in California shows that Nakoula was charged with defrauding US banks by opening false accounts and passing bad checks.

He has since been released on probation, and the document says he agreed to testify against the alleged ringleader in the check scam, but if Nakoula is now found to have broken the terms of his parole, he could go back to jail.

As part of his release terms, he was forbidden from using computers or the internet for five years and fined $790 000.

Amateurish production

This week saw Nakoula move from anonymous petty criminal to become a central figure in an international incident that has triggered mass protests in Muslim-majority countries in North Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Africa, and seen several US diplomatic missions attacked.

Reporters and police are camped out outside Nakoula's house in Cerrito outside Los Angeles, but he has not been seen, although he did give an interview to Radio Sawa, a US-government station that broadcasts in Arabic.

"I am the one who leaked the 14 minutes and put it on the internet and I am thinking about releasing the full film. Nobody manipulated my film," he said. The clip on YouTube was picked up by Egyptian television.

The film has amateurish production values, with actors in laughable false beards appearing to hover weightlessly in front of stock desert footage.

But its depiction of the Prophet Muhammad as a thuggish deviant offended many Muslims, and sparked a wave of anti-American protests that have cost several lives and saw mobs burn US missions, schools and businesses.

According to Paul Audley, president of Film LA, which issues filming permits in Los Angeles, a group called Media for Christ was issued a one-day shooting license in August 2011 for a film with the working title Desert Warriors.

False identity

"I do know personally for having looked at it, before it was withdrawn, that the producer's name on it is Sam Bossil," he said in an interview. Bossil is believed to be one of the pseudonyms used by Nakoula, who uploaded the clip as "Sam Bacile."

A man identifying himself as Sam Bacile gave interviews to US media this week in which he claimed to be an Israeli-American Jew who made the film to help Israel, but a consultant on the movie has since debunked this claim.

Media for Christ's websites and Facebook page were taken down without explanation Friday, but the group is reportedly a right-wing conservative operation founded by Joseph Nasralla Abdelmasih, an Egyptian Copt.

"Media For Christ is a place to discover the word of God and the Gospel preached by many different ministries and ministers in the Lord," the brief introduction to the otherwise defunct website reads.

The group is based just outside Los Angeles in the city of Duarte, where city manager Karen Herrera confirmed it holds an active business permit.

  • cayle.barsby - 2012-09-15 18:47

    How can people be so naive and stupid to let something like this get to them??

  • NickvanderLeek - 2012-09-15 18:51

    what a bunch of idiots - the lot of them. Should all be on Jerry Springer.

  • enlightened.bowman - 2012-09-15 21:09

    @brendon.nel.7 Listen dude, whilst I am not a christian, as a matter of fact I am openly atheist, but whilst what you say about christianity is true but happened some centuries ago, crusades, inquisition etc. Islam is doing it today, 2012. There is a difference

      phoenix.px.5 - 2012-09-15 21:19

      It is still happening today. For example, gay people are killed in Uganda due to rhetoric spurned on by American Evangelists. Bush invaded Iraq - who had NOTHING to do with 911 - based on religious doctrine. Don't be naïve.

      brendon.nel.7 - 2012-09-16 09:41

      Exactly Phoenix. @ bowman. DUDE. Whether ith happened 1000 years ago, 1 million years ago or yesterday. The act is the same,the influence and effect are the same. And I was just making the point that christianty is far from being the squeeky clean religion that the happy clappers like to believe it is. Its \hands\ are covered in more blood that Islam by a long shot. All be it Islam is catching up fast.

  • zaks2217 - 2012-09-15 21:58

    The brainless idiots who killed the ambassador have tainted the image of muslims. He was an innocent man doing his job and had absolutely nothing to do with the dumb film. I certainly hope that justice will be served. I'm am disappointed with the actions of some so called muslims. This is not how muslims are. This film was certainly bait for uprising and was done in the name of Christ which is utterly disgusting. We should all try to not be affected by these instigators and refrian from trash talking each others religions. We are South Africans.

  • imamfriday - 2012-09-16 04:50

    I am Muslim preacher and I can say that: Islam doesn't allow us to kill any non-Muslim in Muslim countries. On the contrary, if a Muslim kills any other human being whether Muslim or non-Muslim, he will not smell the fragrance of Paradise. Moreover, if he did this he will be permanently dwell in Hell fire and his punishment will be doubled. In Islam; to kill a human being looks like killing all humankind and causing a human being to be alive is equal to making alive of the whole mankind. Islam does respect and honor human being;s life and assures its protection. So, what some fanatic groups does in the name of Islam is not right. It is something that Islam completely denounces and condemns. Yet, that should not lure other to disrespect other religions or rites or persons of other religions. All of us live in this life and on this earth as co-workers classmates as neighbours co-travelers and if something evil happens to all humanity, it will differentiate Muslims from non-Muslims or vice verse. So, we should lead a life full of love, forgiveness, tolerance and kindness. Through this we can feel rest and comfort and deserve to be granted tranquility and peace of mind.

      rooinekk.smit - 2012-09-16 11:54

      Imam It's juch a pity your brethren don't know that. Islam, when practiced according to the Koran, is a fine religion. Sadly, many followers have turned it into a bloodthirsty, murderous cult.

  • mikel.kiparski - 2012-09-16 05:45


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