Cultures

Anti-Islam California filmmaker reportedly in hiding

The U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, was killed along with three other staffers in a mob attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. The crowd possibly was upset over a film, "Innocence of Muslims," that insults Muslims with its depiction of the prophet Muhammad and his followers. Filmmaker Sam Bacile, who talked to Associated Press Tuesday by phone "from an undisclosed location," admits provocation was the intent. "Islam is a cancer," he told the Wall Street Journal. "The movie is a political movie. It's not a religious movie."

Bacile keeps being described as an Israeli Jew who works in real estate development in California. That could mean anything from Altadena to Yreka, and journalists who have looked into Bacile find mystery. The WSJ says he's a 52-year-old who was interviewed in his home, but the story didn't say in which part of the state he lives. The Atlantic says that Google turns up nothing on Bacile's business. "I would love to know more about Mr. Sam Bacile, whom no Jew I know has ever heard, and his 100 mysterious backers," tweeted The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg. "'Bacile' as a Jewish name is entirely new to me,'" added Commentary's John Podhoretz. "Doesn't mean it can't be one."

The person identified as Bacile told AP he financed the film with $5 million from 100 Jewish donors who he refused to identify.

The14-minute trailer of the movie that reportedly set off the protests, posted on the website YouTube in an original English version and another dubbed into Egyptian Arabic, shows an amateur cast performing a wooden dialogue of insults disguised as revelations about Muhammad, whose obedient followers are presented as a cadre of goons.


It depicts Muhammad as a feckless philanderer who approved of child sexual abuse, among other overtly insulting claims that have caused outrage.

Muslims find it offensive to depict Muhammad in any manner, let alone insult the prophet. A Danish newspaper's 2005 publication of 12 caricatures of the prophet triggered riots in many Muslim countries.....

A consultant on the film, Steve Klein, said the filmmaker is concerned for family members who live in Egypt. Bacile declined to confirm.

Klein said he vowed to help Bacile make the movie but warned him that "you're going to be the next Theo van Gogh." Van Gogh was a Dutch filmmaker killed by a Muslim extremist in 2004 after making a film that was perceived as insulting to Islam.

"We went into this knowing this was probably going to happen," Klein said.


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