Muslim riots spread; filmmaker found?

Sanaa, capital of Yemen, site of the most recent Muslim anti-American riots
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The riots at United States embassies in the Muslim world spread overnight to Yemen, and broke out again in Cairo. Also, the Associated Press might have found the real man behind the Innocence of Muslims film. If so, they have a surprise for most readers: he is not an Israeli Jew, but a Coptic Christian.

Muslim rioting in Yemen

The latest riots at an American embassy broke out in Sanaa, capital of Yemen, overnight. Muslim militants climbed the wall, swarmed the compound, threw rocks, broke windows, set fire to car tires, and tore down the embassy sign. They also hauled down the American flag and flew the black Muslim banner of Al-Qaeda:

There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet.

Sanaa, capital of Yemen, site of the most recent Muslim anti-American riots

Sanaa, capital of Yemen. Photo: Ferdinand Reus, CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic License

After forty-five minutes, Yemeni security troops drove them out. No one knows how many people were inside the embassy. As far as anyone knows, the rioters didn’t hurt anyone.

The Yemenis answered this riot differently from how the Egyptians handled theirs. In fact, the riots in Egypt are still raging. And in another sharp contrast with the Egyptian attitude, the present of Yemen called Washington to apologize for his countrymen.

Who made the anti-Muslim film?

As ever, the protesters (those who spoke to anyone) blamed the anti-Muslim film, Innocence of Muslims (or is the title Mohammed: the Movie?). Only a 14-minute trailer has come out, and that happened two months ago. Many US experts think that film was a cover story for an Al-Qaeda operation in Libya. The target: US Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who died yesterday.

The first reports gave the film director’s name as Sam Bacile. A man answering to that name said this about himself to reporters:

  • He is Jewish. (Some said he was Israeli; he said he was an American.)
  • He had 100 Jewish donors to finance him.
  • He has not released the film nor found a distributor. (View a 14-minute trailer below.)
  • He produced his film in English. He never authorized an Arabic dubbed or subtitled version.

Late last night, the Bacile story started to unravel. The Huffington Post published this piece, which gave partial credit to the Associated Press. It names the producer of the film as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. The authors of the piece suspect that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and Sam Bacile are one and the same man. The man answering to the Nakoula name denies this.

Nakoula’s background is less than honorable: he was convicted of financial crimes.

Nakoula…pleaded no contest in 2010 to federal bank fraud charges in California[. He paid] more than $790,000 in restitution. He [served] 21 months in federal prison.

A judge also ordered him to stay off the Internet for five years.

According to court papers, he has used assumed names that sound like “Bacile” (Bah-SEAL) before. In any case, “Bacile” is not a legitimate Jewish name. No Jewish name would ever transliterate that way from the Hebrew alephbet.

The more relevant point: Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is not Jewish. He is a Coptic Christian.

This, then, explains why the 14-minute film trailer depicts persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt. It does not depict persecution of, or terrorist attacks against, Jews. Beyond that, the trailer tells its story in a ham-handed, over-the-top way. It is cheap, amateurish polemic, not the kind of polished documentary that, for instance, Dinesh D’Souza recently produced. But everything the trailer does say, other sources have corroborated. That includes:

  • The persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt.
  • The look-the-other-way attitude of Egyptian police.
  • The unsavory activities of Mohammed.
  • That Mohammed had at least one child bride.

That the release of this film might start riots, might be plausible, except for one thing: the upload is two months old. If that film was so incendiary, why did no riots start then?

The Arabic-dubbed version came from Egyptian television, a government media organ. Whoever the filmmaker is, he never authorized that. But no one suggests that Egyptian television apologize for inciting riots and creating international incidents in three countries.

Related:

Muslim mobs kill ambassador, storm embassy