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Pakistan: On ‘The Innocence of Muslims’ Film

‘Islam is a cancer', says United States (US) filmmaker Sam Bacile, the man responsible for sparking outrage amongst the Muslims of the Middle East. The 13 minute trailer of his movie ‘The Innocence of Muslims’ was recently released to the social networking website YouTube. The movie is said to be strongly anti-Islamic, and in his own words, Bacile said he intended his film to be a provocative political statement condemning the religion.

The movie, also dubbed in Egyptian Arabic, came under much scrutiny causing an instant backlash which lead to the deaths of the US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and his three aides. Violent protests were held outside the American embassy in Cairo, Egypt where people scaled the Embassy’s walls and tried to burn the American flag.

Egyptians demonstrate against the film 'The Innocence of Muslims', produced by an expatriate member of Egypt's Christian minority residing in the United States. Image by Nameer Galal. Copyright Demotix (11/9/2012)

Egyptians demonstrate against the film ‘The Innocence of Muslims', produced by an expatriate member of Egypt's Christian minority residing in the United States. Image by Nameer Galal. Copyright Demotix (11/9/2012)

Things took a turn for the worse when protestors in neighbouring Libya followed suit, and attacked the US Consulate. The furious mob set the embassy in Benghazi on fire. There were also reports of rocket propelled grenades being used.

The attack saw the deaths of US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and his three aides due to smoke asphyxiation. People across the globe took to social media websites to voice opinions about the attacks and pay tribute to the late Ambassador. The reactions in the Pakistan Twittersphere however were mixed.

@mehreenkasana: I saw the trailer of the anti-Islam film. You'd expect someone with a budget of $5 million to come up with a film worth the rage. Nothing.

@basmasiddiqui: another movie on the Prophet the killings in #Libya should make them realise degrading a religion will lead no one no where

@Narjis_Fatema: Islam needs burning of consulates as its defense mechanism? Muslims answer Jews in their own language, act smart for once #Benghazi #Libya

@beenasarwar: Irresponsible RT @alisalmanalvi: The filmmaker Sam Bacile, who describes Islam as “a cancer”, has reportedly gone into hiding. #Egypt #Libya

@snarwani: 100s of 1,000s of Arabs & Muslims slaughtered by American troops. Tell me again why I should care about whatshisname-plus-three? #Libya

@Narjis189: Sad to hear about U.S Ambassador , Christopher Stevens death #Libya

@Manafism: What a disastrous security failure on the part of both #Libya & #USA. #usembassy

Protester Chanting anti USA slogans in front of the American Embassy protesting a minute trailer for the film, 'The Innocence of Muslims'. Image by Rabii Kalboussi. Copyright Demotix (12/9/2012)

Protester Chanting anti USA slogans in front of the American Embassy protesting a minute trailer for the film, ‘The Innocence of Muslims'. Image by Rabii Kalboussi. Copyright Demotix (12/9/2012)

The US filmmaker Sam Bacile has reportedly gone into hiding from where he spoke to the media via telephone. Claiming to be an Israeli Jew, hoping to bring out the truth behind Islam, Bacile believes his movie will help his native land, Israel. Israeli officials however say they have no record of Bacile being a citizen.

While Bacile said he was apologetic over the deaths caused because of his movie, he said the security at the embassy was not enough to stand up against the radical ‘Islamists’.

After the director’s disappearance, speculations about his existence have now taken centre stage. Whether he is a real person, or a pseudo identity remains to be seen. Amidst the controversy, a man name Steven Klein has come forward, who calls himself a ‘self-described militant Christian activist’.

According to Klein, Bacile came to him for help on his movie and confided in him because of Klein’s frequent anti-Islamic protests in front of mosques and schools in California after the 9/11 attacks.

After 9/11 I went out to look for terror cells in California and found them, piece of cake. Sam (Bacile) found out about me. The Middle East Christian and Jewish communities trust me.

Klein denies that the filmmaker is an Israeli or Jewish. Pakistanis on twitter have their suspicions as well:

@fbNaqvi: uh…ohk…Muhammad Film Consultant: ‘Sam Bacile’ is Not Israeli, and Not a Real Name – Jeffrey Goldberg – The Atlantic

@GibranAshraf: Sam Bacile: The Mysterious Filmmaker Who Set the Muslim World on Fire -

@shaidavis: It occurs to me that “Sam Bacile” is likely a pseudonym — and given how close it sounds to “Imbecile” — a pretty poorly chosen one.

Prior to this incident, the movie ‘The Innocence of Muslims’ was played once in a Hollywood theatre earlier this year. The turnout was not impressive.

  • naqash ahmad

    gulam hain gulam hain rasool kay gulam hain gulam e rasool main moot bhi qabool hay

  • http://www.facebook.com/vinod.lala.58 Vinod Lala

    beauiful comment.

  • Pingback: What is acceptable Islamic Criticism? « Skeptical Science

  • MUSICALCAROL

    AFTER READING THE LAST HALF OF THE KORAN I BELIEVE THE GOD OF THE UNIVERSE DOES NOT REQUIRE HUMANS TO “KILL ALL INFIDELS” “DEGRAE WOMANHOOD” “REACT TO INSULTS WITH MURDER INSTEAD OF FORGIVENESS, TURN THE OTHER CHEEK” ETC. MY CHRISTIAN GOD PROFESSES ME TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER ETC. I HAVE NOT SEEN THE MOVIE BUT DO WE STILL HAVE FREEDOM OF SPEECH?

  • http://twitter.com/MrMazharShah Mazhar Shah

    YOU HAVE NO BRAIN..

  • Stop Hurting Everyone

    Common people, I get it, freedom of speech OK cool. But where does it say that start hurting people with freedom of speech. Normally USA is supporting the idea of freedom of speech but the law is not applicable on the people who have been arrested without any charges and they are not allowing any kind of speech from those people. Also the soldiers who came back from Iraq and said that people are dying for no reason other than “Oil” why don’t we bring them and let them speak, every time when those guys are coming and speaking they are getting arrested and stuff. Stop hurting people, how about start spreading some love.

    Cheers.

  • Pingback: YouTube Blocked, Unblocked and Blocked Again in Pakistan · Global Voices

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