Who are the real players behind anti-Muslim films?
by Sheila Musaji
As I was updating the articles Extremist Christians Produce Anti-Muslim Film Blame Jews and The tragic consequences of extremism about the tragic murders of our Ambassador and embassy staff in Libya, and the protests around the world, and the anti-Muslim film that seemed to have sparked much of the unrest, there were a couple of statements and oddities about the film and its producers that bothered me. At the back of my mind was an idea that something about this film sounded familiar.
What sometimes makes it difficult to remember particular connections, and to then research the sources, is that the individuals and organizations, and events of the Islamophobia industry are called by different names. Many of the individuals use various pseudonyms, the organizations frequently change their names, etc.
Here is a passage from my article on the film. It is long, but necessary to see all of the connections:
Based on all of the reports that have come out in the last few days, here is a summary of what we now know about the film and its producers. (see The Tragic Consequences of Extremism for details, references, links to sources, etc.)
The film called “Innocence of Muslims” (after having been called “Desert Warrior” and “Innocence of bin Laden”) was originally identified by AP as produced by Sam Basile. AP interviewed him by telephone. The person identifying himself as Sam Basile claimed to be an Israeli American and Jewish,and to have raised $5 million from 100 Jewish donors to make the film. He said that the trailer of the film available on YouTube was part of a 2-hour film. He said that he made the film “to help his native land by exposing Islam’s flaws to the world”, and he called Islam “a cancer”. After the terrible events in Egypt and Libya, and after the story about the film became a news item internationally, he was reported to have gone into hiding in fear for his life.
It appears that Sam Basile was invented to cover the activities of at least four individuals - Steve Klein, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, Morris Sadek, and Joseph Nasralla Abdelmasih. Klein is an extremist Evangelical, and Nakoula, Nasrallah, and Sadek are extremist Copts. So, extremists Christian Islamophobes engaged in an elaborate subterfuge, creating a non-existent Sam Basile and providing Basile with a biography that falsely represented him as an Israeli Jew whose film was financed by 100 other Jews to help Israel against the “cancer of Islam.” The film was produced by Media for Christ at the Blue Cloud studios in California.
The problem is that they made a hateful anti-Muslim film designed to provoke a response, promoted it in English and Arabic, and then engaged in a hateful scheme to blame their handiwork on Jews. Egyptian political extremists used the film to stir up the masses to promote their political agenda. The extremist political organization Al Qaeda used the film as a pretext for their terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy in Libya, as well as using the film as further “proof” of their propaganda effort to say that the U.S. is at war with all Muslims to gain support for their cause.
The identity of Sam Basile is clearly Klein/Nakoula/Sadek/Nasrallah*
There may be others involved, but it will probably take time to identify all of those who engaged in what can only be called an anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, and in the end anti-American conspiracy. Here is what we now know about these men:
Steve Klein, an extremist Evangelical, first told the AP that the filmmaker was an Israeli Jew, and that he was only a consultant on the film. He now says that Sam Basile is a pseudonym as part of a disinformation campaign for an individual whose name he does not know and who is not an Israeli or Jewish and that he had only met him once. He says Basile initially contacted him. Klein says that the film “was designed to stop the Muslim population in America reaching 10 per cent as they would then ‘work together and attack their host country’. Our intent is to show people what America could look like in 50 to 75 years time. The truth is that Muslims are a violent people and they are taking the living with them over a cliff.’” Klein now claims that “the film was paid for by ‘Middle Easterners, Jewish people, Christians and a lot of former Muslims’”. Some money came from Britain, Scotland, France, Germany and Holland,’ he said. Klein said that through a group that he had founded, called Middle Eastern Experts’ Team (MEET) “and his contacts with the Coptic community he has been asked to give his insights to the FBI and the U.S. Marine Corps.” Klein produces a television show called “Wake Up America” on The Way TV, which shares the same Duarte address as Media for Christ headed by Joseph Nasralla Abdelmasih. Klein posts regularly on Pamela Geller’s Atlas Shrugs, In July 2011, Robert Spencer’s website, Jihad Watch, promoted a rally Klein organized alongside the anti-Muslim Coptic extremist Joseph Nasrallah to demand the firing of LA County Sheriff Lee Baca, whom they painted as a dupe for Hamas. He is a board member and founder of a group called Courageous Christians United, whichpromotes anti-Mormon, anti-Catholic and anti-Muslim literature (including the work of Robert Spencer) on its website. He is affiliated with the Church at Kaweah which has been profiled by the SPLC including reference to Klein’s long record of activism against Muslims. Klein was involved in the protests against the Temecula mosque. Klein appears to be allied with the National American Coptic Assembly, a radical Islamophobic group headed by Morris Sadik. Klein says that he “inspired Basile” to make the film and said after the attacks in Libya “We went into this knowing this was probably going to happen.” SOURCES: - ** - ** - ** - ** - ** - ** - **
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is an American Egyptian Copt. His cell phone traces to the same address as the cell phone number used by the mysterious Sam Basile. Nakoula claims that he was manager for the company that produced the video, and provided logistics for the film, but that he was not the producer. Nakoula admits a role in the production of the film, and says that “it was intended as a provocative statement”. He denies being Basile, but says that he knows Sam Basile who is the filmmaker. Nakoula has convictions for drug possession and fraud, and is an ex-convict on probation. He faces possible arrest for breaching the conditions of his parole (using the internet, computers, or email without approval of a probation officer for five years). He is now being identified as the producer of the film. SOURCES: - ** - ** - ** - ** - ** - ** - ** - **
Morris Sadek is an American Egyptian Copt. Sadek was the source of the telephone number supposedly belonging to Sam Basile that was given to AP, and which they called for their interview. Sadek was also the one who posted Arabic articles online drawing attention to the film, sent a link to the film after it had been dubbed in Arabic to Egyptian journalists and television stations on September 6, 2012 , and promoted the film heavily on his website and in social media. Coptic Solidarity organization officials have condemned Sadek’s anti-Muslim activities. Sadek was banned from entering Egypt and had his citizenship revoked in May 2011 because he called for war against the country. Sadek also has links to Terry Jones who also promoted the film. Sadek is a supporter of Brigitte Gabriel’s (an extremist Maronite Christian) ACT! for America. Photo of Sadek with Brigitte Gabriel at one of the group’s 2010 events. SOURCES: - ** - ** - ** - ** - **
Joseph Nasralla Abdelmasih, an Egyptian American Coptic Christian, is the head of Media for Christ who produced the film. He spoke at Pamela Geller & Robert Spencer’s hate group SIOA’s anti-mosque rally in 2010 (also attended by Morris Sadek) and at their Freedom Rally in 2011. In June 2012, Geller and Spencer held what they variously called AFDI/SIOA Historic Human Rights Townhall or AFDI/SIOA “Summer Night for Human Rights”, and which I called an anti-Muslim hate fest. Joseph Nasrallah and Eric Allen Bell attended this function which included many former Muslim speakers. In her articles, Geller includes a photo of herself and Nasrallah, and a photo of Eric Allen Bell sitting in the audience. He participated with Steve Klein and Gary Cass in an anti-Muslim student outreach effort titled 911 Defend Our Students. Geller said about Nasralla: Joseph Nasralla spoke at our 911 Ground Zero mosque rallies. He is a champion of human rights. SOURCES: - ** - ** - ** - ** - **
MEDIA FOR CHRIST - A non-profit non-denominational Evangelical Christian organization. Obtained the permit to film “Innocence of Muslims”. It’s founder is Joseph Nasralla Abdelmasih. Their website is currently offline. Their income from 65,000 dollars in 2007 to over one million dollars in 2011 according to 990 tax forms. The other officers of Media for Christ are Kamal Rizk and Rania Mossad. Media for Christ includes a production house for “The Way,” a Christian satellite television program in English and Arabic launched in 2010 which produces a show hosted by Steve Klein called “Wake Up America.”. NOTE: Media for Christ website is NOT mediaforchrist.org SOURCES: - ** - ** - ** - ** - **
Update: FOLLOW THE MONEY, Form 990 Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax are available on the National Center for Charitable Statistics site in PDF format. Here is what I found for Media for Christ/ The Way TV:
—2005 - Shows no income, only 8,719 in money contributed personally to to set up the organization and 15,543 in expenses leaving a shortage of -6,824 for the year
— 2006 - income 64,164 - salaries 0 - other expenses 63,811 - loss of -6,471 for the year
— 2007 - income 65,861 - salaries 0 - other expenses 61,963 - loss of -2,573 for the year
— 2008 - income 46,248 - salaries 0 - other expenses 47,127 - loss of -879 for the year
— 2009 - 195,396 income - 24,263 salaries - other expenses 170,186 - loss of -22,485 for the year
— 2010 - $633,516 income - 138,638 salaries - 499,649 other expenses - loss of -11,863 for the year
— 2011 - $1,016 income - $165,785 in salaries - 826,451 other expenses - ahead +23,551 for the year
Clearly something major happened in 2010. Suddenly, income increased dramatically, and salaries went from 24,000 to 138,000 a year. Then in 2011, there was another dramatic jump. Income increased dramatically again, ans did salaries and expenses. What happened?
Alan Roberts may or may not be a pseudonym. But focus has shifted to Roberts after Nakoula — presumably the same person as Sam Bacile — refused to admit he was the director. Gawker interviewed Eric Moers, hired as a grip and electrician for the Desert Warrior film, who laid out the on-set politics: “Alan was working under Sam, sort of,” he said. “But Alan was directing the movie, there was no question about it.” Both Moers and Dax described the film’s director as a 50ish white male, and a search of IMDB yields one Alan Roberts fitting the billing. According to the site, Roberts has directed nine films, most recently the 1994 B-movie Save Me. VICE has traced the Alan Roberts name to a man named Robert Brownell, whom they say purchased pre-production services related to the Desert Warrior film in 2009 and 2011. According to their records, Robert Brownell also goes by the name Robert Alan Brown, which contains unmistakable similarities to the Alan Roberts identity. But the biggest problem to Moers wasn’t the director’s name, it was his skill: “He was a directorial hack, he didn’t know basic things,” Moer said. His previous films were primarily soft pornography. SOURCES: - ** - **
Zakaria Botros Henein a Coptic priest who lives in California. Although the preacher, Zakaria Botros Henein, has not been directly linked to the anti-Muslim film, his views were strikingly similar to those in the movie. He is often called Islam’s “Public Enemy No. 1” and teaches that Muhammad was a necrophiliac, a homosexual and a pedophile. Three of the key players in the film are linked to Boutros. Steve Klein has publicly hailed Botros as “a close friend” and compared him favorably to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Joseph Nassralla directs visitors from his website to Botros’ website, FatherZakaria.net. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula spoke openly of his devotion to the cleric while in federal prison. His anti-Muslim teachings earned him the ire of the governments of Egypt, Iran and Saudi Arabia; Al Qaeda allegedly declared a fatwa, calling for his death and offering a reported $60 million to his killer. He has his own television network Alfady. Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch posted an article about Botros by Raymond Ibrahim with an introduction calling him “the courageous priest whose work he introduced us to here at Jihad Watch a few years back.” In fact Jihad Watch has dozens of articles about Boutros, mostly posted by Raymond Ibrahim, but some by Robert Spencer going back to 2008. Spencer’s Jihad Watch listed Zakariya Boutros as a candidate for their Anti-Dhimmi Internationale Award in 2010 and in 2009. The LA Times quotes Botros as defending the contents of the “Innocence of Muslims” film and saying: ”We are stating the truth and showing the path of redemption.” Bishop Serapion of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Los Angeles said that Fr. Zakaria Botros had resigned as an Orthodox priest about 10 years ago and had since become more radical in his anti-Islam public statements. Botros has no current affiliation with the church. SOURCES: - **
Other names, e.g. Terry Jones, have been raised in connection with the film and its promotion, but at this point little is known, including whether or not some names are also pseudonyms.
These individuals have connections with each other and with members of the Islamophobia industry. The Islamophobia Industry exists and is engaged in an anti-Muslim Crusade. They have a manifesto for spreading their propaganda. They produce anti-Muslim films. They are forming new organizations and coalitions of organizations at a dizzying speed, not only nationally, but also internationally. They have formed an International Leadership Team “which will function as a mobile, proactive, reactive on-the-ground team developing and executing confidential action plans that strike at the heart of the global anti-freedom agenda.”
The Islamophobia Manifesto referred to above is Overselling the Meme produced by Edward May aka Baron Bodissey of Gates of Vienna (referred to by Pamela Geller as “one of my favorite bloggers”) claims to be a practical step-by-step guide for “counter Jihadists”. It was published in January of 2011. Here are a few key points:
He discusses particular memes that “activists in the CounterJihad cause” might want to promote, and defines their aim as being “propagandists” to “move multiple memes”. He says they must proceed “more stealthily” and “insert many, many memelets into common discourse”. Some of the memes he suggests: “Mohammed the pedophile”, and “Islam is not a religion”. He says “As a propagandist, my task is to spread the meme and not to sweat the nuances. Nuances can be argued about and nailed down by scholars in the centuries after Islam — as a culture, a political ideology, and a religion — is totally destroyed. We don’t have the luxury for such finicky scholasticism right now.”
Three of the men now identified as being responsible for this film have connections with the hate group AFDI/SIOA run by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. Nakoula Bassely Nakoula seems to be nothing more than an ex-con who got out of jail in June of 2012 and got a job being the “face” of “Sam Basile” to cover for the real individuals behind the film. Nasralla who has participated in at least three AFDI/SIOA events and been identified by Geller as a “champion of human rights” is also the head of Media for Christ who produced the “Basile” film. He also has connections with Sadek and Klein. Nasralla is most likely to be the primary player among the “producers” of the film.
Because I have spent so many years countering Islamophobes, there are a lot of bits and pieces of information that sometimes take a little while to connect. I knew that in one of the profiles I had done for the Who’s Who in the Islamophobia/Arabophobia Industry, one of those individuals had mentioned planning a film about Prophet Muhammad. It took me awhile, and then I remembered that the individual was Ali Sina who runs Faith Freedom Int’l, and is a board member of the hate group SIOA which was founded by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer.
In January of 2012 the formation of a new coalition was announced Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) and Stop Islamisation of Europe (SIOE) joined together in a coalition called Stop Islamization of Nations (SION), and Ali Sina is named as one of the board members.
In February of 2012 Ali Sina had posted an article A Movie about Muhammad: an idea whose time has come. He also posted an article including an interview with himself done by the Citizen Times: Interview with Ali Sina about his planned Muhamma biopic.
If you click on the links for either of those articles now, there is nothing there. They have been scrubbed. [Update 9/21 The first article Ali Sina wrote is back on his site. However, the second article from the Citizen Times interview is still offline. Both of Sina’s sites are back online, although they have been offline for the past week. )
The scrubbing from Sina’s site was not effective, as Islam Watch had also posted Sina’s article as had Pamela Geller on Atlas Shrugs. And, the Citizen Times has the interview online CT Interview with ex-Muslim Ali Sina about his planned Muhammad biopic. So the text of Sina’s article and interview is still available.
Islam Watch introduces the article on their site with: “Years ago, Ali Sina had floated the idea of making a movie on the true life of Muhammad. He is now in the planning to do it… If he succeeds in making the film, Islam’s eradication would be faster than ever.” Geller introduces the same article with: “Ali Sina, renowned ex-Muslim author, founder of FaithFreedom.org and SION Board member, has a brilliant idea, a plan, to educate and liberate those enslaved by the most radical and extreme ideology on the face of the earth, but he needs our help:”
Here are relevant points from Ali Sina’s article:
... To get rid of Islam we need to reveal the truth about it. The Internet was godsend to critics of Islam. However, sites that are critical of Islam are blocked in Islamic countries and even if they were not, the great majority of Muslims don’t read. We need to get our message to the masses. ... If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is the worth of a motion picture? We need to make a motion picture about Muhammad – a biopic that reveals the details of his life. ... The true story of Muhammad is untold. It is available in the books of Siras. But those are voluminous books. Combined, they are thousands of pages. I read them all and have condensed them in a script. ... The other good news is that I have been promised a substantial angel financing. .. The seed is now sown. Now it’s time to nurture it. What I need is an experienced executive producer, someone who shares my values, to make it happen with professionalism and missionary zeal. ... I am not thinking of a high budget movie, but given the subject matter, it can become one of the most seen motion pictures ever. ... I don’t think this movie will require much investment or promotion. People in the movie industry know that nearly half of the budget of a film is spent on advertising and on marketing. We won’t need any of that. We have an army of millions strong who will promote this movie for free. ... Just as the Internet allowed us to spread our message to millions of people, with this movie we can spread the same message to hundreds of millions. When the world discovers the truth about Muhammad, Islam’s days will be numbered.
... When I know about the budget and the legalities are in place, I will give a chance to those who might be interested, to invest in this project. If you have questions you can email me to faithfreedom2 at gmail.com. In the subject box please write Movie Investment. ...
Sina also posted a comment below the article saying “If anyone wishes to make a small donation, you can find a link to my Papal account in alisina.org”
Here are key points from the Citizen Times interview about Sina’s plan to produce a movie about Muhammad:
... I am working on a book about the life of Muhammad. It follows the same story line of the movie. ... Now we have technology that allows us to shoot this movie without putting any one’s life in danger. ... No one in the cast or the crew needs to reveal his or her identity. ... A feature film attracts masses. It is the masses that I want to reach. ... Now we have the means to get our message to the masses ... If we manage to do this movie right and make it accessible to large numbers of people, it will change the discourse about Islam forever. ... The crew and the cast can remain anonymous. ... However, this movie will generate a lot of controversy and because of its explosive story many people will want to see it. Technology has come to our help. A few years ago it would have been impossible to make such a movie or make a profit from it. Now we can do both.
So, in February of 2012 Ali Sina, one of the board members of the newly formed SION group, had announced plans to make a film about Prophet Muhammad, said that he had a completed script, and was in the planning stages, already had been promised substantial angel financing. Geller posted his article and noted the importance of his project and said he needs our help.
In June 2012, Eric Allen Bell (who does have film experience) posted an article on Right Side News. Here are highlights from that article:
... I could not help but remember reading that Muslim Apostate, Ali Sina, had announced a few months earlier his plans to make a full length feature film, promising to depict the true story of Mohammed. ... When the article was published, I received a lot of emails telling me that I should speak to Ali Sina about his movie idea, given that I had made some films and spent most of my career in the entertainment industry. So Ali Sina and I spoke. ... I said I admired his courage and felt very strongly that this was a movie that had to be made. But I added that there was probably no way he would ever get a theatrical release. Movie theaters would be afraid of the violent backlash. The life of Mohammed would have to be released on DVD or online – streaming on demand. The production would have to be financed privately and the movie shot in secret locations. In theaters, this would literally be a movie that “bombed” – whether suicide bomb, pipe bomb, time bomb, car bomb ... Anyone who knows the truth about the “religion of peace” knows that Islamic terrorists would kill people in nearly every movie theater this movie about Mohammed was to be shown. ... And on the extraordinarily off chance that such a biopic could be shown in theaters, the Leftist blogs, the New York Times and several others would immediately put a spin on the nonstop violent outbursts. They would say that a peaceful religion had been hijacked by a few radicals. And then they would probably blame the filmmakers for offending Islam. Some would say that America had it coming, while others would insist that this is not the true Islam. And in time, perhaps the world would go back to sleep. Or maybe violent retaliation on this scale, for simply telling the truth about Mohammed, was what it would take to wake the Western world from its suicidal slumber.
Updates on Eric Allen Bell aka Eric Edborg posted a hateful anti-Muslim screed on FaceBook on September 11th. Then, on September 14th, he posted an article on Front Page claiming that people wrongly connected his FaceBook post, and himself, with the unknown filmmaker who made the “Innocence of Muslims” film. He says: “Anyway, recently my Facebook inbox was flooded with the usual threats from Muslims, telling me that I should be killed for “mocking the prophet” and lefties who refuse to tolerate my intolerance.” I searched but could find only one blog post dated September 13th that mentioned Bell’s FB post, and that post simply countered the substance of Bell’s FB posting. I could find nothing anywhere about anyone claiming that Bell was the person responsible for the film.
On September 16th, The Guardian published an article America’s ‘counter-jihadis’ fan flames of hatred across Middle East which quoted Bell and said he spoke to them from hiding, and said he had nothing to do with the film but was getting “wave after wave of death threats” because of being “mistakenly identified” as the filmmaker. Since the only previous mention of Bell in connection with this film came from Bell’s own FaceBook fan page, all the “waves and waves” of threats are difficult to comprehend. The article also quotes Bell and another minor figure in the Islamophobia Industry as making statements that raise the issue of Islamophobic plots.
Eric Alan Bell “In terms of high public profiles I’d say there is less than a dozen of us. We co-operate and communicate fairly regularly but there is no central control.” Jim Horn “We meet at these things and get to compare notes. We know what Islam’s intentions are – to colonise us, turn us into another Egypt.”
On September 20th, Bell posted a strange article on David Horowitz’ Front Page magazine claiming that he is in hiding due to numerous death threats, and spreading the lie that “Sheila Masaji [sic], of TheAmericanMuslim.org, has used this opportunity to put my name out on the street, to jihadists here in America.” Curiously his article was posted on both Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller’s sites, and, Daniel Greenfield posted an article on Horowitz’ Front Page repeating this lie. See Eric Allen Bell’s Accusations Typical of Islamophobic Spin Machine for a complete refutation of this despicable lie.
In June of 2012, it was announced that the organization would include AFDI/SIOA/SIOE/SION/EDL/BF as a “Global Alliance”, and that their first gathering would be in Stockholm on August 4, 2012. At that Stockholm meeting they established a working group and they said that their objective was “to develop media-related mechanisms to address the smear campaigns. It will also address the media’s double standard regarding Islam and other religions. The Congress will discuss at length the reasons behind and the results of the Western media’s offensive campaigns against freedom of speech and the truth about Islam, jihad, Islamic supremacism and Muslims. ... This will represent a quantum leap in media action, as it discusses, beyond rhetoric, the practical steps to address the phenomenon of the Islamic war against free speech. ... It functions as a mobile, proactive, reactive on-the-ground team developing and executing confidential action plans that strike at the heart of the global anti-freedom agenda.” They also announced that they would hold another gathering of this group on September 11, 2012 in New York City.
In July 2012, the 14-minute trailer for a supposed 2-hour film “The Innocence of Muslims” was posted to YouTube.
On September 11th, 2012, the AFDI/SIOA/SIOE/SION/EDL/BF Global Alliance held an AFDI Freedom of Speech Congress (aka an International Freedom Defense Congress) in New York City. They did a lot of promotion and asking for donations “to cover security costs”. This year they did not have a large public event as they did in 2010 and 2011, but held the event in a conference room of a hotel. Ali Sina was one of the scheduled speakers. Whether or not any of the other characters involved in the “Sam Basile” film were in attendance would be interesting to know.
Immediately after the tragic events in Libya many of the key players in the Islamophobia industry began making statements distancing themselves from the film or from the despicable nature of the films attacks on Prophet Muhammad. Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy communications director, Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, Pastor Warren Mark Campbell of the Church at Kaweah, Terry Jones, Rob Sivulka of Courageous Christians United, Nikoula Bassely Nakoula, Joseph Nasralla, Ali Sina, Eric Allen Bell - all made some sort of distancing statement. See The “Innocence” of the Islamophobes and the Film No One Wants to Be Connected With.
[Update: In the article on distancing, one of the statements is particularly odd, as I note:
Another member of the Islamophobia Industry, Daniel Greenfield aka Sultan Knish posted an article on David Horowitz’ Front Page on 9/13 promoting the theory that the film was a Salafi plot. His supposition is that “Sam Bacile was a Salafist who used Jews and Copts as a front for a Salafist agenda.”
Very curious that they are attempting to blame extremist Muslims for producing this film.
Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer have also engaged in a campaign to increase the tensions by posting articles claiming that Muslims in Nigeria crucified a cat on a cross in protest of the film. They deleted the posts very quickly, but not before they were picked up by multiple Islamophobic sites. See Geller & Spencer Create “Muslim Cat Crucifixion” Lie to Inflame Hatred. ]
I know that something about all of this has a very bad smell, and hope that investigative reporters or even law enforcement will uncover what exactly took place and who is responsible.
Who made a large donation to Media for Christ in 2011? Why did Ali Sina feel it necessary to scrub the articles about his planned film from his site, and when were those articles scrubbed? Was Ali Sina’s script the one used for this film, and was it complete long before the February appeal for funds on Atlas Shrugs? Was this film separate from the film that Ali Sina plans, and therefore there may be another film coming? How many of the “facts” we think we know about this film and its’ producers are part of a disinformation campaign? Who is actually pulling the strings? Was this a conspiracy? Was provoking a violent reaction exactly what the filmmakers wanted? Is SION connected with this project, and is it one of their “practical steps” “beyond rhetoric”? Why did so many key players in the Islamophobia industry feel it necessary to speak out so quickly to distance themselves from this film, and to trivialize its’ importance? Geller said “we must help” get Sina’s film made, who did help? Why was the film initially blamed on “Jews”? If Nakoula was a dupe, and the actors hired for the film were duped, who else was duped, and who is behind all of this doing the duping?
It seems to me that terms like conspiracy, hate crime, incitement to violence, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, psychological terrorism, and traitors, all apply here. If these individuals have not crossed a legal line, they have certainly crossed moral, and ethical lines.
Justin Raimondo has written an interesting article The ‘Pro-Israel’ Network Behind the Innocence Video noting many of the same points raised above and adding some interesting thoughts:
If someone had planned to upend US foreign policy — to utterly destroy the very basis [.pdf] of all our diplomats (and military personnel) have been working to achieve in the Middle East and throughout the Muslim world — they couldn’t have done a better job of it than whoever put together Innocence of Muslims.
As violent protests spread, the consequences continue to roll in: the suspension of joint US-Afghan military operations, the suspension of US aid talks with Egypt, the rapid decline of US prestige in the region, and the growing influence of the radical Islamist movement US support for the “Arab Spring” was designed to counter. The Obama administration’s effort to split the Islamist upsurge and lend its support to “moderates” has been stopped cold.
Was the release of the video a random event, one of those unpredictables that can arise at any moment to foil the best-laid plans? Perhaps. Yet one is hard-pressed to explain what the makers of Innocence sought to accomplish, if not precisely what has occurred…
... The idea that these vermin, who deliberately set out to make a “movie” that would inflame the Muslim world, are “free speech” heroes is worse than nonsense: it is valorizing villains. We don’t yet know where the money, or the impetus to make the film, came from, but what we do know is this: the driving force behind Innocence was a desire to create an international incident that would bring discredit on the United States, and empower radical Islamists who hate America and everything it stands for. And the promoters of this garbage pose as “patriots”!
... Defense of the Jewish state is a major theme of the Islamophobe network: they use it as a shield to deflect criticism. A key leader of this network is former New Leftist and Black Panther groupie David Horowitz: his “David Horowitz Freedom Center” (formerly the Center for the Study of Popular Culture), sponsors Spencer’s “Jihad Watch.” Horowitz’s “Frontpage” site — ablaze with stories decrying the “betrayal” of Israel by the American government and the perfidy of all things Islamic — recently speculatedInnocence was created by the very Salafists now leading the protests. Since the video sprang from the same bigoted milieu of which Frontpage is the online Jerusalem, this “theory” isn’t merely ironic — it’s a moral obscenity.
It isn’t hard to imagine where the money to create this deadly provocation came from. Of the many millions in neocon money sloshing around this country, it’s hardly inconceivable a hundred thousand or so would find its way into the hands of a twice-convicted felon and all around dubious character like Nakoula, who is, I suspect, just a con man rather than an ultra-Zionist ideologue like the promoters of his “work.”
Raimondo raises some interesting questions, but that still leaves the question of why pro-Zionists would initially blame Jews for making and funding the film, thus endangering Jews. Unless of course Nakoula “went off script” with his identification of Basile as an Israeli Jew who had raised the funds from 100 Jewish donors. And, if we could answer that question, we would still be left wondering how Nakoula and the other Copts involved thought their involvement in such a film wouldn’t endanger Copts in Egypt.
Daniel Pipes has also written an article encouraging people to publish “a Muhammad cartoon a day”, saying “So, this is my plea to all Western editors and producers: Display the Muhammad cartoon daily, until the Islamists become accustomed to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger.” Daniel Greenfield (aka Sultan Knish) has just published an appeal on Horowitz’ Front Page Magazine Is It Time for ‘Make Your Own Mohammed Movie Month’?. See Daniel Pipes could use a little common sense and Freedom of speech does not include freedom from condemnation of that speech for a discussion of these “plans”
Well, we have an answer to one of our many questions. Ben Child at the Guardian reports that two more “Muhammad” films are being planned.
... The newspaper names the first film-maker as Mosab Hassan Yousef ... He told the LA Times he had already cast a “prominent Hollywood actor” in the title role of his $30m (£18.5m) film ... The film-maker was reportedly inspired to convert by the radical Egyptian Christian Zakaria Botros Henein, who has described Muhammad as a paedophile and buffoon and who may have also influenced the makers of Innocence of Muslims.
The second film-maker is named as Ali Sina ... who says he has secured $2m (£1.2m) for a film that will portray Muhammad as a cult leader in the style of David Koresh or Jim Jones. Sina hopes to shoot next year if he can raise an extra $8m. ...
Where did these bigots manage to come up with $32 million dollars?
UPDATE 9/30/2012 - Not two, but three more “films” coming our way
Daniel Greenfield noted appreciatively on David Horowitz’ Front Page Magazine that Ali Sina and Mosab Hassan Yousef have upcoming films on Prophet Muhammad. He even includes a picture of what seems to be a poster advertising one of the films “Muhammad: The True Story of a False Prophet” and at the bottom “in theaters this summer”. Not surprising that he would approve since he also published Is It Time for ‘Make Your Own Mohammed Movie Month’? encouraging more films like “Innocence of Muslims. Daniel Pipes and Pamela Geller have also encouraged publishing more cartoons/films etc. until as Pipes said Muslims “become accustomed to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger.” Daniel Pipes added an update to his article A Muhammad Cartoon a Day noting that “The Los Angeles Times tells about two ex-Muslims, Mosab Hassan Yousef and Ali Sina, who have plans to make big-budget derogatory films showing Muhammad on screen. To which I can add a third ex-Muslim with the same intent, Imran Firasat.”
Mosab Hassan Yousef has gone through a number of ideological changes in the past few years.
Yousef’s conversion to Christianity was through the preaching of Father Zakaria Botros Henein.
In 2010 he published a book Son of Hamas. The title refers to the fact that he is the son of a senior Hamas figure, although he became a spy for the Shin Bet. At this time, Pamela Geller called Yousef “a brave heroic apostate out of Islam”. He faced deportation hearings due to some claims in his book. At this time, Alex Nowrasteh on David Horowitz’ Newsreal Blog said “Mosab is also the most valuable source of intelligence on Hamas that Israel has ever produced.” Debbie Schlussel wrote about Yousef saying “I am very suspicious of Youssef. I don’t know how much he actually aided Israel as a spy ... And even if he did as much as he claims, so have many other anti-Israel Jew-haters Israel recruits as spies. There are no swans in the sewer. . . and the sewer is the general habitat of informants.”
In June 2012, Yousef visited Israel and spoke at the Israeli Parliament where he read a statement - he says he is now “free, loving, and forgiving” “truth and forgiveness are the solution for the Middle East’s problems”. He visited Israel as a guest of Likud MK Ayoub Kara. During that visit he announced that he was making a film on Prophet Muhammad that would reveal his “real nature” to Muslims.” While in Israel he also spoke at an event in Jerusalem hosted by Media Central, a pro-Israel press relations organization. Yousef is working with Israeli film producer and actor Sam Feuer. Feuer will produce both a feature film adaptation of Son of Hamas as well as the Muhammad movie. Feuer said the movie has already interested sponsors and a major screenwriter who is in the process of creating the script.
The link Daniel Pipes provided about the film being made by Imran Farasat is to Farasat’s site in Spain, announcing that he will make a film and that it will be released in 2012 in 4 to 5 languages. Based on the site, and on limited google searches, Farasat is a Pakistani ex-Muslim now living in Spain. He seems to be a very marginal character who will produce something to be released on YouTube.
All of this adds credence to Justin Raimondo’s speculation about an Israeli connection behind at least some of these films.
“Innocence of Muslims”: Film and International Crisis (TAM article collection) http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/article-collection/0019361 for an extensive collection of articles on this crisis
First published 9/15/12 8:37 a.m.