Nakoula Basseley Nakoula Behind Innocence of Muslims? Film Had L.A. Permit, Production
Innocence of Muslims / YouTube
The answer might be yes.
The San Gabriel Valley Tribune broke the news last night that the permit for the flick's production was taken out by a Duarte group called Media for Christ:
Yeah, you heard right, Media for Christ.
The SGV Tribune also found out that the thing was filmed, at least in part, at Blue Cloud studios, a.k.a. Blue Cloud Movie Ranch, in Santa Clarita.
The Los Angeles Times late last night matched some of the Tribune's info. The paper added that the film was shot in August, 2011 under the title Desert Warriors (which might explain why the actors said they felt duped).
So this puts L.A. right in the middle of a glowing-hot situation that might have helped get a U.S. ambassador in Libya killed along with three other Americans Tuesday. It also seems to have sparked raucous protests in Cairo Wednesday.
The Arab world's reaction to the film -- actually just a YouTube trailer that had been translated into Arabic slightly more than a week ago -- is now the top issue on the Washington agenda.
Using actors in brown face, Innocence of Muslims clowns Islam's most sacred figure, Mohammed, portraying him as, among other bad things, a child molester. Muslims are depicted as savages who kill innocent Christians.
Its producer is said to be an Israel real estate mogul in L.A. named Sam Bacile, who told reporters yesterday that "Islam is a cancer."
Except that maybe Bacile doesn't exist. The Jewish Journal couldn't find anyone who knew him.
Associated Press found out that a 55-year-old Coptic Christian (the Coptic church is the largest Christian religion in the Middle East) and bank-fraud convict named Nakoula Basseley Nakoula who has the same address as that affiliated with a phone number for "Bacile."
It also found that ...
... federal court papers said Nakoula's aliases included Nicola Bacily, Erwin Salameh and others.
Nakoula denied being Bacile but admitted that he was manager for a company that produced the film. AP:
During a conversation outside his home, he offered his driver's license to show his identity but kept his thumb over his middle name, Basseley. Records checks by the AP subsequently found it and other connections to the Bacile persona.
The AP located Bacile after obtaining his cell phone number from Morris Sadek, a conservative Coptic Christian in the U.S. who had promoted the anti-Muslim film in recent days on his website.
Part of his 2010 bank fraud plea deal denied him access to the internet. AP found that "Bacile" was posting videos and commenting on articles in recent months and even days.
In the meantime, we found an old Media for Christ MySpace page that says the group produces weekly television programming. It also says:
The International Media is crowded with many topics that do not bring glory to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ . The Lord has given me the vision for Media for Christ so we could proclaim the peace of Jesus through than effective Christian media that would positively touch everyone . In June 2005 by the grace of God Media for Christ was established to become the light that shows Jesus Christ to all human beings.
One listing names Joseph Abdelmasih as the group's director. The Tribune says he's CEO.
And you thought the hot season was over. It's only beginning, with Southern California at the center of a global storm.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss LA Weekly's biggest stories.