Film adds fuel to the fire between US and Middle East
Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2012 00:09
The shot heard ‘round the world. The straw that broke the camel’s back. Whatever you chose to call it, there is no doubt that the film Innocence of Muslims has been the spark behind many recent anti-American protests in the Middle East.
The video that sparked all this controversy and conflict is a 14-minute clip of Innocence of Muslims that was uploaded to YouTube on July 1 by a user who calls himself Sam Bacile. An Arabic version of the clip was uploaded in early September and almost immediately removed by the same user.
It is somewhat mindboggling that this film would be taken seriously. Every scene is off balance and appears to have been shot in front of a green screen, and audio tracks have been added over actors’ dialogue in an obvious way. The film belongs in a showcase with all of those Herman Cain and Twilight bad lip reading videos everyone secretly loves that have absolutely no entertainment or informative value. It’s no surprise that the only viewing of the full-length film had fewer than 10 attendees in California.
In addition to being a terrible-quality video, information regarding Innocence of Muslims has been nothing but lies and half-truths. First of all, the man who posted, wrote and produced the film told the cast and crew of the film, as well as reporters in early September, that his name was Sam Bacile and he was either a 52- or 56-year-old Jewish real estate developer from Israel. He also stated to the same people that he had spent $5 million to make the film and that he received the money from wealthy Jewish friends.
According to ABC News, authorities have since determined that Sam Bacile is an alias of Nakoula Bassley Nakoula, a 55-year-old Egyptian-American Coptic Christian drug manufacturer and scam artist in Cerritos, Calif. Nakoula admitted to writing the script while he was in federal prison for fraud and that he and his son, Abanob Bassley, secured the $50,000 to $60,000 to produce the movie from his wife’s family in Egypt.
Actors from the film have come out and said that they had no idea that the film they worked on would turn out to be an anti-Islam film, since the script they worked from was for a film titled Desert Warrior and made no mention of Muhammad, a fact that is obvious, thanks to the awful lip-syncing.
This film does accomplish one thing: insulting the second-largest religion in the world and all of its more than 1 billion followers. Nakoula’s film depicts the prophet Muhammad as a homosexual, a drunk, a child molester and an idiot. Mocking the sacred prophet of a region that is already unstable is akin to throwing a lit match into a powder keg.
In an interview with KERO-TV in Bakersfield, Calif., Cindy Lee Garcia, the actress who played the mother of a 12-year-old girl who is to marry Muhammad in the film, said that she called the director after the film caused such a stir and asked him why he would create such trouble. Nakoula’s response was “… Because I’m tired of the radical Muslims running around killing everyone.”
Innocence of Muslims hasn’t eased the tensions in the Middle East and it’s hardly believable that anyone was ever under the assumption that it would. This is an area that has recently endured months of protests and riots known as the Arab Spring and has seen many national governments overthrown by the people. Middle Eastern countries are not the only ones upset by clips. The posting of an Arabic-language version of the clip in early September caused an international uproar as riots and protests broke out in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Mauritania, Morocco, Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Niger, Somalia, Sudan, Canada, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Australia.
At least 28 people have died as a result of these riots, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. Russia is discussing limiting access to YouTube because of this film. Google, parent company of YouTube, has banned the film from being viewed in Egypt and Libya and limited access in India and Indonesia in order to comply with local laws. The Chief of Pakistan’s Mutahidda Qaumi Movement Altaf Hussain has condemned the film along with many other leaders. The movement has also demanded via telegram that President Barack Obama and UN Secretary General Ban-ki Moon ban the film.