The “Innocence” of the Islamophobes and the Film No One Wants to Be Connected With
by Sheila Musaji
In the past week we have posted a series of articles on the terrible tragedy in Libya when our Embassy was attacked and U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other American Embassy staffers were murdered by terrorists The Tragic Consequences of Extremism. Muslim, Arab, & Interfaith Organizations Condemn Attacks on U.S. Embassies collecting many statements in condemnation of the violence and of the Islamophobic film. Extremist Christians Produce Anti-Muslim Film Blame Jews discussing the film “Innocence of Muslims” and the violent protests sparked around the world. Who are the real players behind anti-Muslim film? discussing what is known to date about those who produced and promoted this film, and their possible connections with the Islamophobia Industry. “Innocence of Muslims”: Film and International Crisis (TAM article collection) collecting informative articles from around the world on what has become an international crisis.
THE DISTANCING BEGINS
Some of the key players in the Islamophobia Industry (and others who have been associated with those behind this film) are already attempting to distance themselves from any responsibility or connection with this film. As reported by Buzzfeed
— Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy communications director, David Reaboi, “I don’t think the movie is what kicked it off.” Reaboi said that his organization believes that the attacks were coordinated by Egypt’s Al-Noor party in order to get a plank onto the Egyptian constitution about outlawing blasphemy. ... “There’s no shortage of pretext for Islamic rage based on Sharia blasphemy laws. I don’t think the pretext is important as the doctrinal element when it comes to what makes these people become violent and crazy.”
— Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller’s partner in the AFDI/SIOA hate groups said: “The fact is it has nothing to do with this movie. This is obviously orchestrated and they’re looking for someone to get mad at about it. They want us to think it’s our responsibility when they fly into murderous rages.” Spencer said he didn’t believe that outside events, like the film or like the Danish cartoons of a few years ago, “incite at all.”
— Daniel Pipes, the founder of the Middle East Forum, said that “The anger is there. But it’s more than anger. It is a deliberate effort since 1989 to tell us in the west that we have to play by the rules of Sharia.” Pipes distanced himself from the kind of rhetoric in the film, saying “People like me don’t touch that stuff. We have no interest in – we don’t say things like Muhammad is a pedophile. We don’t say things like Islam is a cancer. There’s a distinction between people who despise Islam, and people like me who despise Islamism.”
— Rev. Terry Jones said that “The film is not intended to insult the Muslim community, but it is intended to reveal truths about Muhammad that are possibly not widely known,” Jones says in the statement. “The recent outbreak of violence and deaths is not because of the film, it is not because of the activities that we have done and that we will continue to do. These types of violent activities must be totally rejected. These people must be held accountable. It again shows the true nature of Islam.”
— Alex Kane wrote an article Coptic Christian leader of organization that produced anti-Muslim film spoke at Pamela Geller’s anti-mosque rally. He asked Geller for her response to the fact that the leader of Media for Christ spoke at her anti-mosque rally in 2010. Here is what Pamela Geller responded:
This story identifies someone else, Nakoula Nakoula, as the person behind the film. ... So are you really sure of your assertions here? Facts matter. Is it your intention to put innocent human rights activists in the cross-hairs of savage jihadists? In any case, whether or not Joseph Nassralla was involved in this film, it doesn’t matter, because the film itself doesn’t matter. It was not the cause of these riots and murders. The film was on YouTube for months before the Muslim rage over it began, and that rage was clearly carefully planned and orchestrated. The film is just a pretext to justify the violence and intimidate the West into adopting Sharia restrictions on the freedom of speech, so that jihad can advance unimpeded and unopposed in the West. And you, by focusing on the film and demonizing the filmmakers, are abetting that.
— Pastor Warren Mark Campbell of the Church at Kaweah said said Klein was not part of his congregation, and “the only reason he had Steve Klein speak at last year’s Old Paths Christian History Conference, is because Klein is a specialist on the subject of Islam.”
— Robert Spencer has posted a number of articles in the few hours since the police picked up Nakoula Basseley Nakoula for possible violation of parole. In these articles Spencer claims that if Nakoula is sent back to jail it will be “not for the meth or the fraud or for the technicality of the probation violation, but for insulting Muhammad. His imprisonment will be a symbol of America’s capitulation to the Sharia. If Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is imprisoned, he will be nothing more than the fall guy who became the first offender against the new federal crime of blasphemy against Islam.” He calls the police who picked up Nakoula “blasphemy police”. **
— Geller went on Fox and Friends 9/15 and said the President’s asking YouTube to take the “Sam Basile” film down is: “adherence to blasphemy laws under the Sharia”. That “by condemning the movie he is also condemning freedom of speech.” That “this is our first amendment right.” That “the President is sanctioning the murderous rage ... he’s sanctioning the motive behind these riots ... he’s Islomophiliac ... he’s sympathetic to the Sharia”. Then she says “you can’t ask me to sacrifice my freedom so as not to offend savages.” ** (Note: Freedom of speech does not come with freedom from condemnation of that speech.)
— Robert Spencer posted an article VOA retails Islamic supremacist hate propaganda, links Muhammad film to “Islamophobia industry” - in which he says “The mainstream media is focusing like jackals on the Muhammad video, endangering the lives of the innocent people who produced the video, and pressing on the basis of the video for restrictions on the freedom of speech. But as I’ve been saying, the video did not provoke the riots. The riots were orchestrated and planned long in advance, to get the Blind Sheikh freed—and to intimidate the West into destroying the freedom of speech. And now the VOA piles on, repeating Islamic supremacist propaganda about the so-called “Islamophobia industry,” without ever mentioning, of course, that “Islamophobia” is a word that Islamic supremacists use to intimidate people into being afraid to stand against the advancing jihad.”
— Courageous Christians United(CCU), was founded by Steve Klein. CCU posted a statement that Klein was removed from his position as a director at CCU on 9/14:
Steve was removed from the board of CCU as of September 14, 2012 because of his involvement in this film. As the founder of CCU, Steve was an honorary board member, but he has never been to any of our board meetings. In 2006, when I wanted to form my own non-profit corporation, Steve gave me CCU, which he was no longer using. Steve was in no way acting on behalf of our mission organization in the production of the video. While both Steve and the film maker have a right to express their views, that doesn’t mean that we here at CCU endorse this movie as a good means to convey the truth about Islam. In fact, we find this film reprehensible and irresponsible, and serving primarily to provoke a violent response. Rob Sivulka, Pres. CCU
— 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.”
— Eric Allen Bell posted a hateful anti-Muslim screed on his FaceBook page on 9/11 (which said nothing about the “Sam Basile” film). 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 as saying that he was speaking to them from hiding due to death threats, “after he was mistakenly identified online” as the maker of the YouTube trailer. Bell told them “It’s been crazy, completely insane, wave after wave of death threats. They’re promising to torture me to death on video, to cut me into small pieces, sodomise me, a lot of screwed up sexual stuff.” He said he had nothing to do with “Innocence of Muslims”, but said he endorsed its’ message. It would seem that the only identification of Bell with the filmmaker came from Bell’s own FaceBook fan page. **
— Nakoula Basseley Nakoula phoned the Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Los Angeles, and told him that “he denied completely any involvement” in the making of the film. He told the Bishop that the media might have been confused by his middle name. **
— Joseph Nasralla gave a statement to Pamela Geller to post for him on Atlas Shrugs. He claims that he is in hiding and has received death threats. He says Nakoula called him and lied to him about the nature of the film. He thought it was to be about persecution of Copts in Egypt. He said he let Nakoula use his facility to film, and that was his only involvement in the film. He says that Nakoula used the name Sam Basile to get the permit and used the name of Media for Christ without permission. He says that Nakoula altered the film, dubbed in new dialogue, and edited it without consulting with anyone. He says “Nakoula is the only one known right now to be responsible for the content of this movie.”
— Pamela Geller in her introduction to Nasralla’s statement claiming that he is an innocent victim, and Nakoula is solely responsible makes the following claims “The last time I saw Nassralla, he had come to our Summer Night for Civil Rights in June in California, and before that I saw him at our September 11, 2011 rally. But now he is being hunted like an animal because of the media’s relentless campaign to destroy and target innocent civilians whom they believe have been critical of Islam.” ... “Moreover, ex-Muslims such as Ali Sina of Faith Freedom International was planning to make a factual film of Muhammad’s life, to show what he really said and did according to Islamic tradition. “Innocence of Muslims,” however, was not Ali Sina’s film (Sina had no involvement in it whatsoever); nor was it the film that many Coptic activists, including Joseph Nassralla, thought they were making.”
The actors say that they were duped and thought they were making a different film. Those involved with making the film are pointing the finger at each other as being responsible. Organizations they have been affiliated with are terminating their involvement, or claiming that they were only marginally involved with their organization. Even individuals whose names have not come up in any way in connection with the film are distancing themselves. It appears that no one was responsible for anything.
This will be updated as necessary
There is a reason that many, even outside of the Muslim community see such demonization of Muslims as Islamophobic. There is a reason that the ADL has stated that Brigitte Gabriel’s Act for America, Pamela Geller & Robert Spencer’s Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), David Yerushalmi’s Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE) are “groups that promote an extreme anti-Muslim agenda”. There is a reason that The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated SIOA as a hate group, and that these individuals are featured in the SPLC reports Jihad Against Islam and The Anti-Muslim Inner Circle. There is a reason that these individuals and organizations are featured prominently in: — the Center for American Progress reports “Fear Inc.” on the Islamophobia network in America and Understanding Sharia Law: Conservatives skewed interpretation needs debunking. — the People for the American Way Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism. — the NYCLU report Religious Freedom Under Attack: The Rise of Anti-Mosque Activities in New York State. — the Political Research Associates report Manufacturing the Muslim menace: Private firms, public servants, and the threat to rights and security. — The ACLU report Nothing to Fear: Debunking the Mythical “Sharia Threat” to Our Judicial System — in The American Muslim TAM Who’s Who of the Anti-Muslim/Anti-Arab/Islamophobia Industry. There is a reason that the SIOA’s trademark patent was denied by the U.S. government due to its anti-Muslim nature. There is a reason that these individuals and organizations are featured in just about every legitimate report on Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred.
The reason is that these individuals and organizations consistently promote the what everyone “knows” lies about Islam and Muslims. They see “jihad” everywhere especially where it doesn’t exist. They generalize specific incidents to reflect on all Muslims or all of Islam. When they are caught in the act of making up or distorting claims they engage in devious methods to attempt to conceal the evidence.
The claim that they are “truth-tellers” and “defenders of freedom” who actually “love Muslims” and have never engaged in “broadbrush demonization” or “advocated violence” are nonsense. The claim that they are falsely being accused of Islamophobia for no reason other than their legitimate concerns about real issues and that in fact there is not even such a thing as Islamophobia, or their claim that the fact that there are fewer hate crimes against Muslims than against Jews or that some Muslims have fabricated such crimes “proves” that Islamophobia doesn’t exist, or that the term Islamophobia was made up by Muslims in order to stifle their freedom of speech, or that anti-Muslim bigotry is “not Islamophobia but Islamorealism” are all nonsense.
The reason that this is so obvious to so many is that rational people can tell the difference between legitimate concerns and bigoted stereotypes. 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.” Their goal is to marginalize the Muslim community by creating mistrust and hatred. The Islamophobia of these folks is very real, it is also strikingly similar to a previous generations’ anti-Semitism, and it has predictable consequences.