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The Anti-Islamic B-Movie Behind The Benghazi Bloodshed

A screen grab from a YouTube video promoting "Innocence of Muslims," which ignited Muslim protests over its depiction of the Prophet Muhammad (actor not pictured).
A screen grab from a YouTube video promoting "Innocence of Muslims," which ignited Muslim protests over its depiction of the Prophet Muhammad (actor not pictured).
By RFE/RL
It cost just $5 million to make, a tiny fraction of the budgets usually associated with feature-length films.

But "Innocence of Muslims," an amateurish spoof of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, has sparked furious anti-American protests in Libya and Egypt on September 11, the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States.

The Libyan protests, in the eastern city of Benghazi, turned violent, claiming the lives of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other people when demonstrators launched an attack on the city's U.S. Consulate. The building was severely damaged.

The grim turn of events has once again shed a spotlight on how even simplistic forms of Western pop culture can dangerously inflame Arab resentment, where anti-American sentiment remains strong.

The case is reminiscent of 2005, when cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad appeared in a Danish newspaper, sparking massive protests and riots in many Muslim countries.

Muslims forswear any physical depiction of their prophet. "Innocence of Muslims" not only portrays Muhammad in human form, but also as a half-witted and conniving womanizer with a taste for bloodshed.

In one scene, Muhammad is shown selectively invoking the Koran to support his desire to have intimate relations with another man's wife.

Anger over the film has reportedly prompted the film's creator, said by some sources to be an Israeli-American real-estate mogul living in California, to go into hiding.

The filmmaker -- identified initially as 56-year-old Sam Bacile but with subsequent reports suggesting he used aliases* -- was quoted as saying he used contributions from more than 100 Jewish donors to fund his film. He has also condemned Islam as a "cancer" that had led to the United States losing money and soldiers in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A 12-minute trailer for the film, a Monty Python-esque satire featuring stiff acting, stereotypical costuming, and strikingly low-budget scenery, has been posted on YouTube.

One scene, depicting the modern day, portrays Muslim looters destroying the homes of Christian believers as local security forces stand by, unfazed.

A full, two-hour version of the film has been shown only once, the producers claim, in a Hollywood theater earlier this year. The man identified as Bacile and another source said to be involved in the film's creation said the theater was nearly empty.

The film found an advocate in the Florida-based preacher Terry Jones, who became notorious in 2010 with his threat to stage a public Koran-burning.

Jones on September 11 said the violence in Libya and Egypt illustrated that Muslims "have no tolerance for anything outside of Muhammad."

But residents in Benghazi saw it differently.

"The Libyans don't like [someone] to say something bad about their prophet," a resident told Reuters. "Prophet Muhammad -- he is not Osama bin Laden, he is not anybody else, he is our prophet."

* CLARIFICATION: Reports filed since this story was filed suggest the filmmaker's identity remains a question, with aliases like "Sam Basil" and "Sam Basile" cited by people involved in its production.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and "The New York Times"
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Comments
     
by: hank hill from: usa
September 12, 2012 14:07
give bacile and pals to the arabs!
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
September 12, 2012 18:40
I hope that George W Obama will send the US troops to Lybia now and that the US will get stuck for 10 more years in another war that this nation can only lose.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Losd Angeles
September 12, 2012 23:06
Eugenio's Russia is going again!
Who was the Israely-American "Mogul", Basil,
that made the movie? Another Eugenio?
Puping-up just when I started the bellow on Romney forum:

To make republicans feel better, one might even agree
That Obama might believe his past away grandmother
That ethnic Russia saved Jews, from nazi pogromers,
Or his grandfather, to trust Arab traditions to a degree,
Or to another grandfather that Africans are oppressed,
Wearing "Neo-Tech" - versus of "Mason's" pentagree.
But even it would be so - in this case I wouldn't press
Something like that - before the most important case:
USA has no foreign policy - just bombastic "doctrine",
Used too well, to make World walk "hate US" cantina,
Till US ran out of bombastic armies and quarantined
To fall with us as colonies of imperial rose-but keens.
Someone skillfully direct events, not chess, checkers.
In Response

by: rick
September 12, 2012 23:39
no no no
Obama has been informed by RFE / RE journalists
that these rebels of Benghazi
while were putting under fire 'U.S. embassy
were singing an "Against Putin" song

so all is okay, nothing happened !
In Response

by: William from: Aragon
September 13, 2012 01:03
It has never stopped them before, Eugenio, especially now that the human rights record of the US administration's hand-picked Iraqi government is such a shining beacon to the world.

by: Roger from: USA
September 12, 2012 18:01
The YouTube trailer seems to have been "made private" so dispassionate observers can no longer make a judgement. I had to save the above news item because it reads like a defensive communique or release from an extremist propaganda network rather than an investigative article from a Western journalist steeped in the tradition of free speech. What is meant by "... selectively invoked the Koran ...."?. We always thought that the essence of civilized thought was that " ... I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it ..." The article seems to forget ... like others in the "tolerance" camp ... that it is these selfsame people who are the most intolerant of all ... and his own words bear this out. Liberal politics ... and thereby liberal journalism ... seem to have reached a strange place of very confusing appeasment-gibberish. The article needs to explain to the world how to talk to an intellectual opponent who will not countenance the following question "What, exactly, was untrue about the film/satire?" Because the truth DOES still matter, or does it?

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
September 12, 2012 19:33
VIDEO: 'Anti-Islam film a pretext; US diplomat's killing shows Libya intervention's failure' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQi828Wqj30&list=UUpwvZwUam-URkxB7g4USKpg&index=1&feature=plcp

by: vlad from: moldova
September 12, 2012 20:11
Most of that are just historic facts. Islam has bloody chapters, same as some of Christianity, humanity, etc. There is freedom of speech to be able to speak about it and freedom of expression to portray it. Right?
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
September 12, 2012 23:21
You whether illiterate, less probable, or simply Rashka.
Lying for masters, "rascol'nicki-provokatory" - bukashka?
Muhamed didn't force another man's wife to bed, to conrare,
He started with another versus of "Saint George"-like praying.

But, ultimated by 12 tribes, he accepted poligamy - their way
And marry doughters of 12 Shakes. He said: - "How can deny
A Proffet to a women without husband, to continue family line
And to Mountain (12 tribes) - for Muhamed accept its rights?"
In Response

by: William from: Aragon
September 12, 2012 23:57
Dear Vlad, does freedom of speech give someone the right to call out "Fire!" in a crowded cinema? A question for you to ponder sometime.
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 13, 2012 13:09
Wow, now the most uneducated, uncivilized, Russians are goint to teach us about Islam.

by: UKR FAN from: Canada
September 13, 2012 02:45
That is a bunch of bunk; this attack in Benghazi was well-planned and orchestrated well before the movie came out.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
September 13, 2012 07:00
Sure it was! But before be carried-out, USA "residents",
Provcocators, made the movie. Only few saw it in USA,
But insurgents of we might gess who - alredy precident,
Killing Ambassador and diplomats (like Ambassy in Iran:
Pro-Russian guards took hostiges)Trillions dollars gone,
To fix the World USA trying help, subverted by Rashkas.
Movie - signal. Efford of USA, aparatchiks stole, it's done.
Now USA and Arabs enemies - eat Russian "kakashkas".

To a degree it is NATO falt - do not be too greedy - World,
Big for any power to eat. One try it - and oneself devolved.
Why USA let them missguide them? - To plagiarize people
Like me for USA elite by help of aparatchiks, than "Gevold!"
In any area of activety - from art-science through economy:

Reps squeeze, leave to Dems repare - leave to Reps squeeze.
Since 1930-th personal ambitions and greed using plagiarizm,
At present total. Russian aparatchics steal from us things
Glory to Brit-Germ-Russ USA elite and politician's teams.

During last election I advised on a Forum McCain to save
Buying power of Americans, like saving parts of economy,
Obama usurped it and went too far on incentives - no way
Let me publish in my name - relying on CIA plagiarizmuity.

He had no idea what do next - I didn't voluntire as his slave.
CIA staffed with Russia threatened - than killed my mother.
They care only for themselves, leding US to the dark caves.
Not let us be known - they hate us like enemy and gaseling.


by: Ben
September 13, 2012 10:38
RFE/RL `s Jewry sympathy is great! Happy to declare the Jewish author of the provocative film while google and hence America knows that the author is Coptic Christian.Anti-American violence in Lybia and Egypt-the countries" refreshed" by Obama`s "lidership from behind" shows the results of his senceless policy.

by: Mamuka
September 13, 2012 10:53
I saw some of this trailer. How could it possibly cost five million dollars?!? It looks like a high school project. And nobody ever heard of it until Muslims started protesting it. To call it a B-movie is not right, I don't think it is even a movie.

by: Anonymous
September 13, 2012 10:58
You do not use freedom of speech excuse to threaten and lie to any people. Try to scream "bomb" during the flight and see how "democratic" US personel will handle you. Well the US screams "bomb" on the flight="Islamic terrorism" for 11 years in the row. 1.7 billion people will have to react. If you call a person pig 11 years in the row, don't be surprised that he will oinc back at you. Muslims lived peacefully, now they awaking. All the Arabs states are only 20% of Islamic population. There are more numerous and more advanced Muslim states which will go into "spring" mode. Tell me how do you fight the ideology which says that if you die in the battle for religion you go to heaven? Islam started in chaos and destroyed two most powerful superempires of that time: Roman and Persian simultaneously without catapults or heavy cavalry, without legions or sige rams, without regular trained armies or castles.

by: Hamik C Gregory from: Reno, NV USA
September 13, 2012 11:34
That satirical movie "Innocence of Muslims" is an excellent example of human stupidity rather than a practice in free speech. To bad the creator could not tell the difference.
May be IQ in in Europe have been dropping by fifty percent and we did not know about.

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