Movie hoax may have enraged Muslim mobs

Enraged Muslim mobs continue to harass the American embassy in Cairo, while two U.S. naval vessels and a contingent of Marines are headed to Libya to beef up security of the U.S. diplomatic mission there following the killing of Ambassador Christopher Stevens on September 11. Protesters in Egypt, Libya, and Yemen lsewhere have denounced what was purportedly a film denigrating Islam and its founder, Mohammed. A trailer of the film was released on YouTube, causing the furor. The controversial Evangelical pastor Terry Jones was reportedly associated with the film, as was a mysterious group that produced it.

While it is not clear what was the spark for the riots in Yemen and Egypt and the deadly attack in Libya, reports indicate that Muslim rioters were enraged by the mere existence of the film, which was first reported by Egyptian media. Reports also suggest that the riots were pre-planned to mark the 9/11 anniversary. The government of Israel has declared that there is no citizen named “Sam Bacile.” Arabs living in Israel have gathered in Tel Aviv to express their outrage.

It is now that, contrary to earlier claims, the Associated Press reports that "Sam Bacile," the alleged Israeli producer behind the film is not a Jew for sparking riots in Libya, Egypt, and Yemen, is actually a Coptic Christian expatriate living in California. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, told AP in an interview that he is the manager for the firm that produced "Innocence of Muslims," which mocked Muslims and Mohammed. Nakoula told AP that he is a Coptic Christian, and said the film's director is a supporter of embattled Christian Copts in Egypt. 

While Nakoula denied being the director of the video, telephone records indicate  Nakoula is the man who claimed to be "Sam Bacile."  One person who can be verified as being associated with the film is Steve Klein, an evangelical Christian and anti-Islamic activist. Klein told  The Atlantic on September 13 that he was a consultant on the film, that "Sam Bacile" was a pseudonym, that the person behind the name probably is not a Jew, and that he does not know the real name of the man in question.

An interview with an actress who appears in the film has added to the mystery. Cindy Lee Garcia told Gawker that she had a bit part in a movie she was told would be called “Desert Warrior,” which would depict life in Egypt 2000 years ago.

Garcia told Gawker,  "It wasn't based on anything to do with religion, it was just on how things were run in Egypt. There wasn't anything about Muhammed or Muslims or anything and that, according to Gawker, "In the script and during the shooting, nothing indicated the controversial nature of the final product. Muhammed wasn't even called Muhammed; he was ‘Master George,’" Garcia said. The words Muhammed were dubbed over in post-production, as were essentially all other offensive references to Islam and Muhammed. Garcia said that there was a man who identified as "Bacile" on set, but that he was Egyptian and frequently spoke Arabic.

Sarah Abdurrahman at On the Media and Rosie Grey at Buzzfeed may have been the first to note that every instance of reference to Islam or Mohammed has been dubbed, and that the words heard on the audio track do not appear to match the actors’ lips.  In one instance in the film, a voiceover intones  “His name is Muhammed. And we can call him The Father Unknown,” when the actors appears to be saying something else.

The 14-minute so-called trailer appears to be an incoherent and haphazardly-edited montage of scenes. The trailer also gives evidence of various video sources and jarring discrepancies among the actors and locations in an amateurish effort.

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