L.A. Area Copt Tied to ‘Innocence of Muslims’ Film

A Copic Christian man from outside Los Angeles reportedly acknowledged Wednesday his role in producing the incendiary, anti-Islam film that sparked riots in Libya and Egypt

 

A Coptic Christian man from outside Los Angeles reportedly acknowledged Wednesday his role in producing the incendiary, anti-Islam film that sparked riots in Libya and Egypt.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, told the Associated Press that he managed the company that produced the movie, "Innocence of Muslims."

The film, which has since been removed from YouTube in Egypt and Libya, mocks the Muslims' beliefs and incited mob protests in Cairo and Benghazi, where the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other State Department officials were killed.

Also read: U.S. Ambassador to Libya Killed as Attacks Intensify Over Anti-Muslim Film

Nakoula identified himself with a driver's license, but covered his middle name with his thumb when an AP reporter inspected the document. He said he did not direct the film, but knew the purported director Sam Bacile.  A YouTube account under that name posted the video.

Copts are a Christian sect who comprise a minority of the population in Egypt.

However, a cellphone number used to contact the filmmaker who described himself as Sam Bacile traced back to the address where the AP found Nakoula.

Nakoula, a Coptic Christian, said the film's director cared about Muslim treatment of Copts. He denied that he posed as Bacile.

Steve Klein, a Christian activist involved in the project, told the AP on Wednesday that Bacile was a pseudonym for the director.

The filmmaker is now reportedly in hiding, particularly after Klein warned him that he may become the next Theo Van Gogh, the provocative Dutch commentator who was murdered by an Islamic extremist after releasing a film that Muslims found offensive. 

Also read: American-Made Trailer Triggers Virulent Anti-U.S. Protest in Egypt, Libya

But as the filmmaker ties to prevent potential death, the online gaming community was mourning the loss of a foreign service information management officer, Sean Smith – known to many in the virtual world as "Vile Rat" — who was killed alongside the American ambassador in Libya, according to the AP.

The 34-year-old was a well-known gamer on "EVE Online," a game comprised of 400,000 players driving ships, buying and selling virtual goods and engaging in corporate spying and voting in a government comprised of real-life players.

Alex Gianturco, who goes by the avatar name "The Mittani," served as the leader of the "EVE" gaming guild "Goon Swarm," and was instant messaging Smith when the attack occurred.

He messaged an expletive before writing "GUNFIRE" and disconnecting.

Before joining the mission in Benghazi, Smith served around the world — from Brussels to Canada to Iraq. Prior to that, he was a member of the Air Force.

A decade-long veteran of the foreign service, he is survived by his wife, Heather, and two children, Samantha and Nathan.