'Innocence of Muslims': insult film behind violent protests

AFP, Wednesday 12 Sep 2012

A film portraying the life of the Prophet Mohammed, which touches on themes of paedophilia and homosexuality, has sparked a deadly attack on a US mission in Libya and furious protests in Egypt

Clips of the film at the centre of the controversy have been posted on the Internet and private satellite channels have been showing segments. The low-budget movie, "Innocence of Muslims" in which actors have strong American accents, portrays Muslims as immoral and gratuitously violent.

It pokes fun at the Prophet Mohammed and touches on themes of paedophilia and homosexuality, sparking protests in Egypt and violence in Libya that left America's ambassador Chris Stevens and three American officials dead.

The film was produced by Israeli-American Sam Bacile, according to the Wall Street Journal, but Egyptian media say that some Egyptian Copts living in the US were involved in the production.

Today, Wednesday 12 September, an Egyptian journalist filed a lawsuit against the producers of the film for "offence to Islam" and has called on authorities to strip the Egyptian Copts involved in the production of their nationality.

Bacile, a 52-year-old real-estate developer from southern California says Islam is a hateful religion. "Islam is a cancer," Bacile told the Wall Street Journal of his crudely-produced film, which depicts the Prophet Mohammed variously sleeping with women, talking about killing children and referring to a donkey as "the first Muslim animal."

With amateur costumes, a choppy script and fake backdrops, the film would hardly have been noticed some say, had it not been for its promotion by US pastor Terry Jones, who drew protests in the past for burning the Koran.

Bacile told the Journal he was responsible for the film -- an excerpt of which has been viewable online since July -- saying he had raised $5 million to make it from about 100 Jewish donors, whom he declined to identify.

He said he had worked with some 60 actors and 45 crew to make the two-hour movie in a three-month period last year in California. "The movie is a political movie. It's not a religious movie," he said.

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