Thursday, September 13, 2012

Anti-Muhammed Movie. Protests & Riots In Middle-East. Embassies Attacked.



  • Posted on September 12, 2012

UPDATE: An update about the filmmaker of the now infamous anti-Islam film can be read here.
Sam Baciles Anti Islam Movie Sparked Deadly Protests in Egypt, Libya
An actor depicting the Prophet Muhammad (Photo Credit: YouTube)
On Tuesday, Americans remembered the lives of those individuals who were mercilessly killed during the September 11, 2001 attacks.
But on the same day that the 11th anniversary of the tragedy was being remembered, two notable, anti-American events unfolded in the Middle East — in Egypt, Islamists tore down the American flag at the U.S. embassy and, in Libya, radicals burned down the U.S. consulate and killed a U.S. diplomat. These actions were taken, not as a result of the 9/11 anniversary, but in retribution for an obscure anti-Islam and anti-Prophet Muhammad film that was produced in America.
Sam Bacile, 56, the movie’s writer and director, has gone into hiding following the violent reaction to his film. An Israeli, Bacile lives in California and works in real estate development. While filmmaking isn’t his main source of income, he put together the inflammatory movie in an effort to expose negative attributes that he believes come from and are associated with the Islamic faith.
The self-described Israeli Jew told the Associated Press, from an undisclosed location, that Islam is a cancer and that the film was intended to make a political statement, while condemning Islam on the whole. The English-language movie spans two hours and is entitled, “Innocence of Muslims.” Bacile claims that more than 100 Jewish donors helped put up the $5 million to make the film, which has reached no measurable level of success, possible.

“This is a political movie,” Bacile told the AP. “The U.S. lost a lot of money and a lot of people in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but we’re fighting with ideas.”
Sam Baciles Anti Islam Movie Sparked Deadly Protests in Egypt, Libya
Photo Credit: YouTube
Naturally, considering his view that the faith is a “cancer” and examining the fact that he intentionally sought to target Islam, there’s no surprise that the content presented within the film is disparaging and offensive, to say the least. Muhammad, Islam’s most revered prophet, is made to look like a fraud. His followers, too, are depicted as fools.
“Innocence of Muslims” depicts Muhammad as a feckless philanderer who approved of child sexual abuse, among other overtly insulting claims that have caused outrage. In a 13 minute 51 second trailer, the Islamic prophet is made to look like a murderer and adulterer as well.
Among the insults are insinuations that the Koran is made up and that Muhammad is anything but prophetic — two notions that chip away at the very fabrics of the Islamic faith.
Under the YouTube account “sam bacile,” a supposed trailer for the controversial film is posted (caution: sexual and disturbing content):
It is a well-known fact that Muslims find it offensive to depict Muhammad in any manner, let alone insult the prophet. A Danish newspaper’s 2005 publication of 12 caricatures of the prophet triggered riots in many Muslim countries. And this, of course, is only one example.
Though Bacile was apologetic about the American who was killed as a result of the outrage over his film (reports allege that three other American embassy workers were killed in Libya as well), he blamed lax embassy security and the perpetrators of the violence.
“I feel the security system (at the embassies) is no good,” said Bacile. “America should do something to change it.”
A consultant on the film, Steve Klein, said the filmmaker is concerned for family members who live in Egypt. Bacile declined to confirm. Klein said he vowed to help Bacile make the movie but warned him that “you’re going to be the next Theo van Gogh.” Van Gogh was a Dutch filmmaker killed by a Muslim extremist in 2004 after making a film that was perceived as insulting to Islam.
“We went into this knowing this was probably going to happen,” Klein said.
Sam Baciles Anti Islam Movie Sparked Deadly Protests in Egypt, Libya
Photo Credit: YouTube
On Tuesday, there seemed to be confusion surrounding which film had inspired violent protests in the Middle East. Some claimed that the anti-Islam, Koran-burning pastor Terry Jones, whom TheBlaze has frequently covered, was behind the movie. However, Jones is merely promoting the film; he was not involved in its production.
The Atlantic has more about the movie, with additional background details about how Bacile’s offensive project sparked deadly Middle Eastern protests:
The movie is called Innocence of Muslims, although some Egyptian media have reported its title as Mohammed Nabi al-Muslimin, or Mohammed, Prophet of the Muslims. If you’ve never heard of it, that’s because most of the few clips circulating online are dubbed in Arabic. [...]
Obviously, there‘s a lot to this story that’s still unclear. What we do know is that some members of Egypt’s sometimes-raucous, often rumor-heavy media have been playing highly offensive clips from the highly offensive film, stressing its U.S. and Coptic connections. In the clip below, controversial TV host Sheikh Khaled Abdallah (known for such statements as “Iran is more dangerous to us than the Jews” and that Tehran had engineered a deadly soccer riot in Port Said) hypes the film as an American-Coptic plot and introduces what he says is its opening scene.
Bacile‘s film was dubbed into Egyptian Arabic by someone he doesn’t know, but he speaks enough Arabic to confirm that the translation is accurate. It was made in three months in the summer of 2011, with 59 actors and about 45 people behind the camera.

'Upset' actors disown anti-Islam video

LOS ANGELES: Actors in a video that has sparked outrage among Muslims say the film's inflammatory parts were added without their knowledge.

At first its creator was named as Sam Bacile, supposedly a US-Israeli real estate developer living in Los Angeles, said to have raised $US5 million ($A4.8 million) to make the anti-Islam video titled Innocence of Muslims.

The film apparently portrayed the prophet Muhammad as a womaniser and paedophile, sparking anger throughout the Arab world.

But a day of research by US media and bloggers indicated the film may be a hoax linked to Coptic Christians and Evangelicals living in the US. It is alleged they made the low-budget film using actors in Hollywood and then dubbed many of the most provocative statements onto the soundtrack.

A statement from a group claiming to represent the cast said they had been tricked into making the film and that all of the specific attacks on Islam were added by producers in the studio.

They claimed to have been recruited for a film named Desert Warrior.

''The entire cast and crew are extremely upset and feel taken advantage of by the producer,'' the Los Angeles Times quoted them as saying. ''We are 100 per cent not behind this film and were grossly misled about its intent and purpose. We are shocked by the drastic rewrites of the script and lies that were told to all involved. We are deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred.''

Suspicions were reaffirmed by The Atlantic's website, which quoted a militant Christian activist, Steve Klein, who supposedly worked as a consultant on the film, as saying that Bacile was not Israeli or Jewish and that his name was a pseudonym.

One of those supporting the film was Pastor Terry Jones, the controversial
Christian fundamentalist preacher from Florida, notorious for planning public Koran burnings that sparked anti-American riots throughout the Arab world.

Mr Jones is said to have held a public screening of the controversial video at his church in Gainesville, Florida, on Tuesday night.

Read more:

Angry crowds storm US Embassy in Yemen, amid protests in Iraq, Iran

Protesters angered by a film they consider blasphemous to Islam have stormed the U.S. Embassy compound in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, in the most recent attack on U.S. diplomatic posts in the Middle East.

Protesters smashed windows as they breached the embassy perimeter and reached the compound grounds, although they did not enter the main building housing the offices. Angry young men brought down the U.S. flag in the courtyard, burned it and replaced it with a black banner bearing Islam's declaration of faith — "There is no God but Allah."

Yemeni security forces who rushed to the scene fired in the air and used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators, driving them out of the compound after about 45 minutes and sealing off the surrounding streets. It was not immediately clear whether anyone was inside the embassy at the time of the attack.
Demonstrators removed the embassy's sign on the outer wall, set tires ablaze and pelted the compound with rocks.

Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi ordered an investigation into the attack.
Hadi avowed to bring the culprits to justice, saying the attack by a "rowdy crowd" was part of a conspiracy to derail Yemen's close relations with Washington.

The Embassy of the Republic of Yemen in Washington, D.C. said in a statement obtained by Fox News that Yemen strongly condemned the attack on the U.S. compound, but says the situation is under control. 
"Fortunately no casualties were reported from this chaotic incident. The government of Yemen will honor international obligations to ensure the safety of diplomats and will step up security presence around all foreign missions," the statement said. "We strongly urge all those that would wish to incite others to violence to cease immediately.

Pentagon officials tell Fox News that Pentagon and U.S. Navy officials are monitoring the situation in Yemen, but so far have received no request for military assistance there following the Embassy breach.
"We are doing everything we can to support our mission in Yemen," a senior administration official told Fox News. "We've had good cooperation from the Yemeni government which is working with us to maintain order and protect our facilities and people."

The movie cited in the attacks, "Innocence of Muslims," came to attention in Egypt after its trailer was dubbed into Arabic and posted on YouTube. The video-sharing website blocked access to it Wednesday. The trailer depicts Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a madman in an overtly ridiculing way, showing him having sex and calling for massacres.

The Yemen incident was similar to an attack on the U.S. Embassy in the Egyptian capital of Cairo on Tuesday night. A mob of Libyans also attacked the U.S. consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi on Tuesday, killing American Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Three diplomats injured in the Libyan attack are being treated at an American military hospital in Germany and one of the two most seriously wounded is expected to leave the intensive care unit on Thursday
A State Department status report obtained by The Associated Press says the third injured staffer is awake and alert at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center near the Ramstein Air Base, where 33 uninjured consulate personnel are staying and receiving military counseling. All were evacuated from Benghazi early Wednesday and arrived in Germany late that afternoon along with the remains of the four diplomats.

Read more:

4 killed as Yemeni police, demonstrators clash at U.S. Embassy

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 6:38 PM EDT, Thu September 13, 2012
Watch this video

Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) -- Anger over a film that denigrates the Prophet Mohammed spread to Yemen, where four protesters died Thursday during clashes with security forces outside the U.S. Embassy, according to Yemeni security officials.
Twenty-four security force members were reported injured, as were 11 protesters, according to Yemen's Defense Ministry, security officials and eyewitnesses.
Protesters and witnesses said one protester was critically injured when police fired on them as they tried to disperse the angry crowd.
The protests in Sanaa are the latest to roil the Middle East over the online release of the film produced in the United States.
As evening came, the number of protesters dwindled and tensions began to ease, after a day in which demonstrators breached a security wall and stormed the embassy amid escalating anti-American sentiment.
No embassy personnel were harmed, U.S. officials said.
Yemen works to quell US Embassy protests
U.S. preparing for escalating protests
Violent protests spread to Yemen
In Egypt, riot police fired warning shots and tear gas early Thursday outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to keep hundreds of protesters back from the compound walls, with minor injuries reported. Protesters also gathered in Tunisia, Morocco, Iran and elsewhere.
The clashes follow Tuesday's attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other consular officials dead and has heightened tensions at U.S. diplomatic missions across the region.
Thursday morning, several thousand Yemeni protesters gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, with some flooding the security perimeter and penetrating the embassy's wall, according to a statement released by Yemen through its embassy in Washington condemning the incident.
"Security services have quickly restored order to the embassy's complex. Fortunately, no casualties were reported from this chaotic incident," it said.
However, after a lull following the breach of the embassy wall, anger appeared to rise again as the day wore on, and security forces began to use more force to try to control the crowd.
U.S. increases embassy security worldwide after Libya attack

Mid-East media deplore Libya, Egypt violence

Libyan man holds a placard
Reaction in the Middle Eastern media to the killing of the US ambassador to Libya ranges from dismay at the attack to anger at the obscure film that was initially seen as the catalyst for the attack. Many commentators see a link between the killing of Ambassador Chris Stevens and al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri's video call for revenge for the death of his Libyan-born deputy Abu Yahya al-Libi in a US drone attack.
The widely watched pan-Arab satellite television channels all lead with the continuing protests at the US embassy in Cairo and the dispatch of US destroyers to the Libyan coast, while Saudi-funded al-Arabiya also highlights the first TV interview by new Libyan Prime Minister Mustafa Abu Shagur, who says he plans to disarm armed groups in the country.
Iran's official Arabic-language channel al-Alamsays protests are spreading throughout the Arab region, from Cairo to Yemen, Tunisia and Morocco. Syrian state TV sees a rare chance to shift attention from troubles at home, and devotes much of its morning bulletin to the protests in the Middle East, highlighting the now discredited claim that the film was made by an Israeli and portraying it as part of a US-led "war against Arabs and Muslims".
The influential London-based Arab press is split, with the Saudi-owned al-Hayat and al-Sharq al-Awsat continuing to lead on Syria. Al-Sharq al-Awsat's tone is sympathetic towards the US, profiling Stevens as a "US ambassador who loved Libya and its revolution". It also notes rising intimidation by extreme Salafist groups in both Egypt and Libya in the days before the attack.
Hassan Haydar writes in al-Hayat that the killing of the ambassador was "sad and shameful", especially given that the US had foiled a "planned massacre" by the Gaddafi government in Benghazi less than 18 months earlier, and that it was also sad and shameful to see Egyptians raise the flag of al-Qaeda on the anniversary of the 11 September attacks in protest at a film "with which the US government has no connection either near or from afar".
The Libyan-oriented al-Arabal-Alamiyah sees the "ominous film" as having "burned the land of the Arab Spring under Washington's feet", while Arab nationalist al-Quds al-Arabi in its generous coverage notes protests by thousands of Libyans against the Benghazi attack. The newspaper's editor, Abd-al-Bari Atwan, writes that the attacks are a "reminder to the US administration that its country is still hated by a large section of the Arab and Islamic public... for its interference on behalf of Israel", but draws a distinction between the "spontaneous" attack in Cairo and the Benghazi raid, which he sees as linked to the al-Qaeda call for vengeance.
'Betraying a guest'
Libyan media coverage in the mainstream and social media is generally hostile to the Benghazi attack. Libyan state TV prominently reports the apology of head of state Mohamed Magarief to the US, in which he likens the Benghazi attack to the 11 September attacks on the United States.
Al-Watan newspaper similarly condemns the "criminal act" and offers its condolences. "Betraying a guest and killing him is not part of the tenets of our noble religion," it says.
The Benghazi independent newspaper New Quryna says the Benghazi attack will lead to "more insults against the Prophet Muhammad, the religion of Islam and Libya". Rawan Ayash tells the paper that "this is not how we defend our honourable Prophet" and Muhammad Warfally refers to a "terrorist attack that shows the need to crack down on militias".
The violence at home and in Libya dominates Egyptian broadcast and press coverage. Commentators deplore the violence. Wael Qandil asks inal-Shuruq daily: "Should we turn into murderers and slaughterers to prove to the world that we love the Prophet?" and concludes that the world will take away an image of the "savagery that it sees as the key to the personality of the Arab and Islamic nations".

Egypt May Be Bigger Concern Than Libya for White House

Moises Saman for The New York Times
On Thursday, for a third straight day, protesters scuffled with police in Cairo.

Obama says Egypt neither friend nor foe after attack

09/13/2012 17:17

US president says Egypt must cooperate to secure embassy; Clinton says "violence in response to speech is not acceptable."

WASHINGTON - The United States does not consider Egypt's Islamist-led government an ally or an enemy, US President Barack Obama said in a television interview aired in full on Thursday.
US President Obama at White House Rose Garden

"I don't think that we would consider them an ally, but we don't consider them an enemy," Obama told Telemundo, a Spanish-language network, on Wednesday after mobs of demonstrators angry over a film they consider blasphemous to Islam assaulted the US embassy in Cairo..

He said the newly formed Egyptian government, which was democratically elected, is trying "to find its way."
If government officials take actions showing "they're not taking responsibility," then it would "be a real big problem," the president said in the interview.
The attack on the embassy in Cairo coincided with attacks on a US consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi that led to the killing of four US diplomats, including the US ambassador.
Obama's comments reflected deepened US wariness over Egypt's new Islamist president Mohamed Morsy - who took office in June after the country's first free elections - in the aftermath of the Cairo embassy assault.
The United States was a close ally of Egypt under ousted autocratic President Hosni Mubarak and gives $1.3 billion in military aid a year to Egypt plus other assistance.
Obama ultimately called for Mubarak to step down as he faced mass protests in early 2011. But the US president was criticized for taking too long to assert American influence.
On Thursday the White House said Obama had spoken with the presidents of Egypt and Libya to discuss the violence against US diplomatic compounds.
Obama, in his call to Morsy, said Egypt "must cooperate with the United States in securing US diplomatic facilities and personnel," the White House said.

Behind Mitt Romney’s Libya statement

Mitt Romney makes remarks on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya. (JIM YOUNG - REUTERS)
“Trust, but verify.”
Mitt Romney would have done well to channel Ronald Reagan’s famous line before making his statement Tuesday night about the events in the Middle East. By criticizing the Obama Administration without full information, getting political while other Republicans were issuing more somber remarks, and doubling down on his response despite the revelation that a U.S. ambassador was killed, Mitt Romney made a rush to judgment.

As many have pointed out about Romney, jumping the gun—or having “a tendency to shoot first and aim later,” as President Obama told 60 Minutes—may not be a very presidential quality. But there’s another interesting leadership question developing about how the decision to issue the statement was made, and what role Romney’s advisers played. Is the candidate reliant on their recommendations when he senses a political opportunity? Or was it Romney who was leading the charge?
In his account for the Washington Post, Philip Rucker writes that “by about 8 p.m. Eastern time [Tuesday], when Romney aides heard about the first U.S. casualty in Libya, they recommended to the candidate that he issue a statement,” quoting a senior campaign official who was granted anonymity. “We were all in agreement that it was appropriate for the governor to say something, and we were all in agreement in terms of what he should say,” the official said.
Then, Rucker reports, aides orchestrated a formal-looking news conference setting at what was intended to be a campaign rally for Romney to double down on his remarks from the night before. The narrative that seems to emerge from Rucker’s story, at least, is not that Romney felt overly compelled to make a statement at a time of crisis, but that his aides seized a political opportunity.
Meanwhile, in the New York Times, a picture emerges of Romney reacting “strongly to the notion of ‘hurt’ religious feelings” from the embassy statement made before the protests occurred, and that he saw a chance to draw a sharp line between himself and the president. It also says he personally read and approved the campaign’s statement before it was released. Some saw the article as a sign Romney’s aides were pointing their fingers at their boss.
Who knows how much Romney asked his aides about the source or timing of the original statement that prompted his remarks. It’s unclear whose idea the hastily arranged news conference was. And if it was Romney who pushed to make the statement and approved its content, it’s hard to tell whether anyone advised him otherwise. 

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