US police question anti-Islam filmmaker

2012-09-15 22:33

Los Angeles - US federal authorities questioned early on Saturday the alleged brains behind the film that has inflamed much of the Muslim world by lampooning the Prophet Muhammad, but quickly released him.

Nakoula Besseley Nakoula was "given a ride" from his southern California home to the interview shortly after midnight, with investigators seeking to establish if he broke the terms of his probation over a bank fraud conspiracy, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesperson Don Walker said.

A man later emerged from the police station wearing a coat, hat, scarf and glasses, a local NBC News affiliate reported.

The anti-Islam film - entitled Innocence of Muslims on its 14-minute YouTube trailer - was produced by a US religious group called Media for Christ and reportedly directed by a pornographer.

Nakoula, a US-based Egyptian Coptic Christian, has previously admitted uploading the trailer on the internet.

In 2010 he was convicted of defrauding US banks by opening false accounts and passing bad checks, court documents show, and he served one year before being released on probation.

Director a pornographer

As part of his release terms, he was forbidden from using computers or the internet for five years and ordered to pay more than $790 000 in restitution.

His questioning on Saturday did not take long, Walker said, though the outpouring of anger about the film persists - as do enquiries into its origin.

The film was directed by 65-year-old Alan Roberts, an industry 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 and key 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, such as Egyptian American provocateur Morris Sadek and Terry Jones, a Florida pastor notorious for publicly burning a Qur'an.

Petty criminal

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 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.

This week saw Nakoula move from anonymous petty criminal to being a key figure in a global furore that has triggered mass protests in Muslim-majority countries in North Africa, the Middle East, Asia and elsewhere, and seen several US diplomatic missions attacked.

The US ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed in a well co-ordinated attack on Tuesday in the eastern city of Benghazi.

Reporters and police are camped out outside Nakoula's house in Cerritos outside Los Angeles. He gave an interview to Radio Sawa, a US-government station that broadcasts in Arabic.

Thuggish deviant

"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's depiction of Muhammad as a thuggish deviant offended many Muslims. The deadly anti-American protests have seen 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.

"I do know personally from 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.

  • isabel.ashe.7 - 2012-09-15 22:51

    Send him back to Jail this time for a long time...

  • veldt66 - 2012-09-15 22:58

    Send this idiot to the gallows, he is creating untold hatred among members of the human race. This world has enough problems already!!!!

      Bob.Cee123 - 2012-09-16 02:15

      He has not created one single iota of hatred. The hatred is always there, simmering, and some muslims appear to be just aching for an opportunity to take offense at something stupid, so they can chatter, shriek, rant and gnash their teeth, while throwing rocks and destroying property. Seems like taking violent offense at silly things is their way of letting off steam from their miserable lives.

  • wade.johnson.58726 - 2012-09-16 02:31

    Islam means Peace; Stop means Go; Up means Down; Left means Right.

      steele.oyle - 2012-09-16 07:50

      Christianity means love. apartheid means separate but equal

      Madhi - 2012-09-16 11:50

      wase.johnson means idiot from moronic background and hellish future.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-16 19:20

      Mahdi means an immature person who resorts to violence to express himself and his beliefs.

  • wade.johnson.58726 - 2012-09-16 03:16

    Come on people, have you seen the film ? Its probably the Lamest excuse for a movie, ever made. Such a Low Budget; poorly acted; overly abusive; waist of time piece of Junk ever. Its like, the director of 'Twilight' slept with the director of 'Battlefield Earth', who then gave birth to a retarded kid, who eventually made this film. Its not worth anybody taking offense to such a poorly constructed piece of drivel.

      ilse.vanzyl.98 - 2012-09-16 06:37

      Your'e missing the point, my friend

      phoenix.px.5 - 2012-09-16 08:53

      Are you friends, or are you using 'my friend' so that you come across as slightly condescending?

      wade.johnson.58726 - 2012-09-16 19:49

      @ ilse.vanzyl: You damn right, I'm missing the point. Please explain to me, what exactly is the point of the riots; the violence; the arrests made & the murder ?

  • sintjohn.witbooi - 2012-09-16 05:43

    You shall name him Ishmael ... He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers." Genesis 16:12 New International Version (©1984)

      steele.oyle - 2012-09-16 07:49

      Just how many versions are there?? Time to make a new modern version by puff daddy

  • charl.strydom - 2012-09-16 06:26

    Religion never been solved the problem.. Better be neutrual.. Because we are human...

      shakes.tshabala - 2012-09-16 12:13

      Well said Charl. I respect you for that statement. Religion should be accepted not debated. This is where doubt creeps in. I have so many issues in the Bible but accepts it rather to question it.

  • charl.strydom - 2012-09-16 06:26

    Religion never been solved the problem.. Better be neutrual.. Because we are human...

  • chikunga - 2012-09-16 07:06

    did Mohammed really marry a 6 year old girl

      africanwolf - 2012-09-16 07:27

      I do not know, I was not there :)

      steele.oyle - 2012-09-16 07:53

      Was there an incestuous relationship between lot and his daughters? Was Jesus a descendant of Lot? All of this can be found in the Bible.

      gerhard.kress.3 - 2012-09-16 09:18

      Chikunga google Mohammed's wives.

      chikunga - 2012-09-16 10:21

      the thing is I would really want to engage a Moslem on this one, coz I really dont understand how then many innocent lives have to be lost to preserve his(Mohammed) deity if such immoral activities were even possible with him

  • blackops64 - 2012-09-16 07:47

    This moron should be charged with the murder of a high level government official (US ambassador to Libya) as well as the 2 marines and another staff member. I do believe this would be a federal case punishable by the death penalty. I still cant get over the moron from somalia saying that if mulims love allah they must atatck the west, and I thought the ancyl were stupid, sheeesh that takes top prize in dumb

      blackops64 - 2012-09-16 10:19

      oh really, listen you misinformed idiot, it was reported right here on news 24 or is that ancyl 24

  • Phelamanga - 2012-09-16 07:59

    The greatest tragedy in all of this is the fact that people have been killed and property burnt and looted because of a b-grade movie, of which only 14 minutes have been seen. The imams who incited their congregations to violent acts without having seen the movie should also be held accountable and punished under sharia law, hopefully by having an appendage chopped off. Films have been made about Jesus that have been derogatory and demeaning of Him, but, Christians did not murder and destroy. Muslims state that the Bible is corrupt and state that Christians are heathens because of their belief in the Trinity. Muslims state that their religion is superior to all others. Are these statements not offensive to Christians? Muslims are allowed to practise their religion openly in Christian and secular countries, yet it is prohibited in Saudi Arabia for non-Muslims to do this. Muslims can recruit believers to Islam, but a Muslim who converts out of Islam can be put to death. This film would have been seen as a passing fad, but now it has reached every corner of the earth, and the actions of the violent mobs, more than the content of the film, have done more to damage the integrity of Islam than the film itself. Often the greatest danger to Islam lies not in the minds of non-Muslims, but in the mouths and deeds of Muslims. This is true for other religions as well. To serve God, seek first the kingdom within, live in peace with your neighbours and do not bear false witness.

      chikunga - 2012-09-16 10:26

      honestly I would prefer if muslims can be exterminated from this planet.if they are not killing each other in tribal tensions they are busy exploding in trains and public places. even an honest moslem know there is too much dishonesty in they way most of his fellows handles non moslems.

  • zhansrod - 2012-09-16 08:40

    Some of these comments are disgusting, with the majority being disappointing, to put it mildly. I am ashamed to live in the same country as you stereotypical bigots. As one who considers all faiths to have their merits, being both correct as well as incorrect, this defensive reaction is utter bulldog poop. ANY and all hate-inducing media is wrong, any portrayal of any religion by someone who is not actually a part of that institution is dodgy to say the least. This scrutiny of the director is not without merit, a pornographer simply cannot make a religious film. What if Malema made a film about priests and "little boys"? Say these priests were all white? People wouldn't be too happy. Teach the world a lesson and use this opportunity to curb scathing critiques of any and all religion. To each his own, unless to the detriment of others. That includes religion.

      bob.macphearson - 2012-09-16 08:53

      No, just no. In an open and free society, religion, just like any ideology or belief is open for critique, ridicule and mockery. Deal with it.

      zhansrod - 2012-09-16 08:59

      Yes, of course it can be critiqued, or mocked or even given the finger for all I care, whatever you wanna do go right ahead. But that doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. Don't mistake freedom of expression for irresponsible hate speech.

      zhansrod - 2012-09-16 09:05

      If no-one is willing to make a stand when there is injustice, we find ourselves where we are today; in a country ruled by people with the same mindset as you, Mr. Macphearson, I can do what i want "when-ehva". That being said, many Muslims are definitely too agressive, the chip-on-the-shoulder routine is getting old. Grow up people.

      bob.macphearson - 2012-09-16 09:15

      Someone made a movie poking fun at islam, how is that an injustice or hate speech?

      zhansrod - 2012-09-16 09:33

      Very well-said QuickQuirky. My apologies, I feel you may have misinterpreted my meaning. People are free to make and bake whatever they want. the key issue I wish to see change is a shift in mindset from the current one, focusing less on CREATING clashes and more on conflict dissipation. Islam must stop attempting to impose itself, I agree completely. But why make a movie about a religion you do not believe in? For what reason? The answer, that reason, is the parasite. That is what needs to change.

      Madhi - 2012-09-16 17:25

      Zhansrod u talking sense to the deaf, their hearts are sealed and only God can save them from their prejudice and hatred. Now that I am not God, I would like to personally punish all the bigots as a lesson for their children, if they will have some after the punishment I would enjoy visiting upon them for being human wastes. U see u the peaceful one and I am the one who fight fire with fire, no hugs or wasting time praying for them. No angel will cry for such morons and that will be doing God a favour if u save the earth from their pollution.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-16 19:24

      Mahdi, that's one of the most hateful and violent posts placed on this website. Hello!! How blind are you?

  • jaba.kov - 2012-09-16 09:09

    The Movie was just plain stupid. The reaction of the world's Muslim community was also just plain stupid. Islam needs to take a hard look in the mirror... because their childish response to a pathetic film just shows their insecurity... I have one question though… On youtube are hundreds of anti-Christian and anti-Jewish films that have plagued the screens of the Arab world… you don’t see Christians and Jews running in mobs destroying buildings and killing people… When the Muslims destroyed huge sculptures of Buddha in Afghanistan you didn’t see Buddhists go on a killing rampage… neither do you see Hindus going crazy when Muslims destroy a place of worship in India or when India is hit with Pakistani terror. The religion of peace needs to learn some peace.

      chikunga - 2012-09-16 10:30

      the movie was not PLAIN STUPID.

      gerhard.kress.3 - 2012-09-16 11:03

      The movie was spot on showing Mohammed for the degenerate and paedophile he was.

      gerhard.kress.3 - 2012-09-16 11:04

      Islam was spawned from violence.

  • Nhlanhla Zondi - 2012-09-17 05:29

    That's why i don't affiliate myself with any religion but God cause all of this religions are judgmental towards one another and they always fight for supremacy and you turn to ask yourself where is the love of God in all this?

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