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Jewish Journal

Anti-Muslim filmmaker not “Israeli Jew”

by Tom Tugend

September 13, 2012 | 11:25 am

A protester holds a sign with caricatures and Arabic words that read, "Leaders who challenged the Americans" during a protest at the U.S. embassy, in Cairo, on Sept. 12. Photo by REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

An anti-Muslim film, which has triggered riots in Muslim countries and the death of four American diplomats, was apparently the work of a Christian Coptic in California, rather than an “Israeli Jew,” as first reported.
 
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula identified himself to the Associated Press as the manager of the company that produced “Innocence of Muslims.”
 
Judging from clips from the film shown on YouTube, the film depicts the prophet Muhammad as a homosexual who approved the sexual abuse of children.
 
Initial reports described the filmmaker as Sam Bacile, a self-described “Israeli Jew” and now a Los Angeles property developer, who said that the $5 million movie was financed by donations from 100 Jews.
 
Bacile supposedly phoned his story form an undisclosed location where he went into hiding, but The Journal reported immediately  that no one in Los Angeles had ever heard of the name.
 
Nakoula denied that he had impersonated Bacile, but the AP story cited considerable evidence to the contrary,
 
It also noted that Nakoula, as a Christian Coptic, was part of an Egyptian minority population that has long claimed a history of discrimination and occasional violence from the country’s Muslim majority.
 
Demonstrations against the film started in Tuesday in Libya when rioters in Benghazi killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other embassy employees. The protests then spread to Egypt, Tunisia and other Arab countries,
 
Nakoula was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison in 2010 after he pleaded no contest to federal bank fraud charges.
 
CNN reported that 80 members of the “Innocence of Muslims” cast have protested that they wren “grossly misled” about the film, which they believed was to be a historical movie about life in the Arabian desert.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Tom is a contributing editor for the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles and the West Coast correspondent for the Jerusalem Post in Israel, Jewish Chronicle in Britain, and...

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