An actress who appeared in the "Innocence of Muslims," the video at the center of a wave of violent protests currently sweeping through the Middle East, claims she was duped into appearing in the anti-Muslim screed.
In a letter posted to the website of author Neil Gaiman, Anna Gurji writes that she thought she was had landed a supporting role in a low-budget movie about tribes of ancient Egyptians fighting to acquire a fallen comet. The film was to be called "Desert Warrior" and no mention was made of Muhammad or religion, she writes.
The finished product was a very different story indeed. A trailer uploaded to YouTube has roiled radical Muslims by portraying the prophet Muhammad as a false prophet and a sexual deviant. In response, violent protests have broken out in Afghanistan, Egypt, Pakistan and other parts of the Muslim world. The video has been linked to the deaths of the U.S. Ambassador and three other Americans in Libya last week.
Gurji said that she has decided not to go into hiding, but she is denouncing the film.
"I feel awful that a human being is capable of such evil," Gurji writes. "I feel awful about the lies, about the injustice, about the cruelty, about the violence, about the death of innocent people, about the pain of offended people, about the false accusations. I don’t know what else to do but speak the truth. I will not go into hiding (since I have nothing to hide), because if we don’t speak the truth, there is no world worth living for."
Despite her ignorance of the anti-Muslim content, Gurji said the experience has been devastating.
"It’s painful to see how our faces were used to create something so atrocious without us knowing anything about it at all," Gurji writes. "It’s painful to see people being offended with the movie that used our faces to deliver lines (it’s obvious the movie was dubbed) that we were never informed of, it is painful to see people getting killed for this same movie, it is painful to hear people blame us when we did nothing but perform our art in the fictional adventure movie that was about a comet falling into a desert and tribes in ancient Egypt fighting to acquire it, it’s painful to be thought to be someone else when you are a completely different person."
Gurji, an actress who hails from the country Georgia, has appeared in a number of commercials and the indie film "Freaky Deaky," according to her IMDB page.
In an introduction to Gurji's letter, Gaiman writes that he became acquainted with the actress after they appeared together in a movie called "Blood Kiss." He dubs her, "a good sort."