‘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.
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.
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.