The Daily Beast reports that an Israeli-American real-estate developer by the name of Sam Bacile produced a movie about the Prophet Muhammad meant specifically to provoke a reaction of rage–he succeeded. The Atlantic tells us that not much is known about Bacile, and that there are doubts about his true identity. Amongst those involved in promoting the film is the goofball Pastor Terry Jones,
Earlier on Tuesday, scholars at Egypt’s influential Al-Azhar mosque condemned the film ridiculing Prophet Muhammad produced by an Israeli-American real-estate developer in California, Sam Bacile, and promoted by among others Florida-based Christian evangelist Terry Jones, whose burning of a Quran sparked riots in Afghanistan in 2011. The condemnation and news about the movie moved like wildfire across Islamist Facebook pages. Salafi preachers took to Islamist satellite channels to add their fury.
The two-hour film of a symbolic “trial” of the Muslim prophet has not been shown yet, but a 14-minute trailer of the movie was posted on YouTube both in an English version and another dubbed into Arabic. The movie, Innocence of Muslims, depicts Muhammad as a fraud and a womanizer. Bacile told reporters that he doesn’t know who dubbed the film. Terry Jones said that the film shows “the destructive ideology of Islam,” adding that the attacks in Benghazi and Cairo demonstrate that Muslims “have no tolerance.”
The trailer for the movie can be viewed here: The Innocence of Muslims Movie Trailer.
Lets just say that Sam Bacile is no Salman Rushdie.
The movie is of a quality that is several degrees below horrid, the amateur and crude nature of the production render it devoid of any artistic value. Forget about any real, accurate, historical basis for the depiction of Prophet Muhammad, he is assigned all the usual Orientalist, Islamophobic characterizations: child molester, murderer, forcibly converting non-believers, bastard seed of an unknown father, sadist and oddly as having a homosexual relationship with the second Caliph Umar.
The fact that the intent behind the film was a bigotry laced attempt at provocation rather than a critical or irreverent look at the life of Prophet Muhammad is confirmed by Bacile himself,
[A]ccording to one of Bacile’s consultants on the film, Steve Klein, the two knew full well that their incendiary movie would provoke violent reprisals…Bacile told The Wall Street Journal’s Matt Bradley and Dion Nissenbaum that “Islam is a cancer” adding that “The movie is a political movie. It’s not a religious movie.”
The movie was produced several months ago, screening to a mostly empty theater in Hollywood and elicited no reaction. This trash movie would have been relegated to the garbage bin of history if it weren’t dubbed into Egyptian Arabic. The dubbed version went viral on Egyptian and Libyan Facebook pages and networks, resulting in the protests that we witnessed yesterday and today.
The movie feeds already existing anti-Western sentiments as well as narratives in the region of an American-led Western War on Islam, an overall disrespect and intolerance for Muslim culture and symbols, and a sense that the West is a bastion of hypocrisy, decadence and uncivilized conduct. Opportunistic Egyptian media outlets, politicians and preachers have exploited the video for their own causes, in effect generating and energizing a movie that should simply have been ignored, or at the most mocked and scorned for how over-the-top terrible it is.
The protesters reaction on the other hand will fuel perceptions in the West that Muslims (though there were only several thousand mostly fundamentalist protesters) cannot distinguish between the free speech of its citizens and the positions and actions of governments. It will also fuel the perception that Muslims cannot properly handle offensive speech directed against those personages or symbols they hold as sacred without reacting irrationally and violently.
This mutual miscomprehension will continue so long as both sides remain wantonly ignorant of where the other side is coming from, and as long as those voices vested in promoting hatred and bigotry on both sides are amplified.
In a turn for the worst we have also learned that tragically, the US Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stephens along with three members of his staff have died in an attack on the US consulate,
The US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, has died from smoke inhalation in an attack on the US consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, the country’s interior ministry and security sources have said.
The ambassador was paying a short visit to the city when the consulate came under attack on Tuesday night, Al Jazeera’s Suleiman El-Dressi reported from Benghazi.
He died of suffocation during the attack, along with two US security personnel who were accompanying him, security sources told Al Jazeera. Another consulate employee, whose nationality could not immediately be confirmed, was also killed.
Two other staff were injured, El-Dressi reported. The deaths were confirmed by Wanis al-Sharif, the Libyan deputy interior minister, to the AFP news agency.
According to several reports the attackers used the protest as a “diversion” to launch an attack on the consulate that had been planned well in advance,
U.S. officials say the embassy attack in Libya may have been a coordinated attack planned ahead of time. That follows a report by CNN citing sources that say the attackers used the film protests as a “diversion” to reach the embassy.
There is no excuse for violently reacting to such a poorly made and clearly incendiary movie, ever; in fact it is surreal, like something out of a salivating Islamophobes wildest dream.
There is a lot here that is oddly coincidental, why is this happening right around the time of the 11th anniversary of 9/11? Once again a movie is the center of attention during a tight presidential race involving Barack Obama and his Republican opponent; in 2008 it was Obsession, this year it seems to be The Innocence of Muslims.
Finally, I want to add that we should not be surprised that violence based in ignorance has surfaced. If rampant and ignorant anti-Muslim Islamophobia expressing itself violently can rear its ugly head in a stable, prosperous and wealthy nation like the United States, how can we expect that hateful anti-Muslim propaganda won’t lead to emotional and violent anti-American protests in countries that have weak, transitioning governments, poor economies and significant levels of illiteracy?
Looks like Sarah Abdurrahman’s suspicion that the actors in the Muhammad movie were deceived has turned out to be true. (h/t: BBoyBlue)
The story of the Muhammed movie which sparked deadly protests in Libya gets weirder. The actors who appeared in it had no idea they were starring in anti-Islam propaganda which depicts Muhammed as a child molester and thug. They were deceived by the film’s director, believing they were appearing in a film about the life of a generic Egyptian 2,000 years ago.
Cindy Lee Garcia, an actress from Bakersfield, Calif., has a small role in the Muhammed movie as a woman whose young daughter is given to Muhammed to marry. But in a phone interview this afternoon, Garcia told us she had no idea she was participating in an offensive spoof on the life of Muhammed when she answered a casting call through an agency last summer and got the part.
The script she was given was titled simply Desert Warriors.
“It was going to be a film based on how things were 2,000 years ago,” Garcia said. “It wasn’t based on anything to do with religion, it was just on how things were run in Egypt. There wasn’t anything about Muhammed or Muslims or anything.”
In the script and during the shooting, nothing indicated the controversial nature of the final product. Muhammed wasn’t even called Muhammed; he was “Master George,” Garcia said. The words Muhammed were dubbed over in post-production, as were essentially all other offensive references to Islam and Muhammed.
Update II: Israel says filmmaker not an Israeli citizen. (h/t: Markorov)
By AP and Times of Israel staff September 12, 2012
Consultant on film says producer uses fake name and identity as part of disinformation campaign.