The online trailer for Innocence Of Muslims, a movie written, produced and directed by amateur filmmaker Sam Bacile, is being blamed for sparking deadly demonstrations in Cairo and Benghazi on Tuesday. The U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other American diplomats were killed during the uprisings, leading to increased tensions in the Middle East. As a result, Bacile, who has no discernible film industry credits and told The Wall Street Journal “Islam is a cancer”, has gone into hiding, The Associated Press reports.
Bacile’s treatise depicts the Prophet Muhammad — an offense to Muslims in and of itself — as a greedy bastard child, a womanizer who approves of child molestation and a warmongering fool. Bacile told the AP he is a real estate developer and an Israeli Jew, but Yigal Palmor, the spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, told The New York Times, “Nobody knows who he is. He is totally unknown in filmmaking circles in Israel. And anything he did — he is not doing it for Israel, or with Israel, or through Israel in any way.” Palmor also called Bacile “a complete loose cannon and an unspeakable idiot.” Florida pastor Terry Jones, whose notoriety derives from threats to burn the Koran, has been called a proponent of the film. On his website, Jones called Innocence Of Muslims “an American production” and said it “reveals in a satirical fashion the life of Muhammad.”
The Journal said Bacile wanted “to showcase his view of Islam as a hateful religion.” Bacile told the paper Innocence Of Muslims was a “political movie” rather than a “religious movie.” He said he raised the $5M budget from about 100 Jewish donors and worked with 60 actors and 45 crew to shoot over three months in California last year. The movie was shown in one nearly empty theater in July last year, Bacile told The Associated Press, which spoke to him from his undisclosed location. From there, Bacile showed some remorse about the violence in Egypt and Libya, according to the AP, but blamed lax security. He said, “I feel the security system is no good. America should do something to change it.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama have both condemned the killings. Ambassador Stevens’ death was the first of an American envoy abroad in more than two decades, The New York Times said.
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