Islamophobic film and Christian fundamentalists


In this frame grab from a video made on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012, Steve Klein, an insurance agent and Christian activist involved in 'Innocence of Muslims,' a film denigrating Islam and the Prophet Muhammad that sparked outrage in the Middle East, speaks during an interview at his office in Hemet, Calif. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)

By Susan Webb in the USA:

Who’s behind the film?

Friday 21 September 2012

The anti-Islam video linked to this week’s violence in Libya, Egypt and Yemen originated in a web of US right-wing extremists.

The YouTube video, titled Innocence Of Muslims, is a crude 14-minute film portraying the Prophet Muhammad as a lecherous, violent schemer.

First reports attributed it to an Israeli-American individual in California who claimed it was funded by Jewish donors.

It turns out that these individuals do not exist, and the real architects of the film include a right-wing Egyptian-American Christian convicted of bank fraud in 2010, and a US religious right activist with ties to Christian militias and Obama-hating clergy.

Justice Department investigators say Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, who lives in southern California, was a key player on the film. He is still under a five-year probation from the 2010 fraud case, which includes barring him from internet use.

Nakoula is a Coptic Christian, a mainstream Egyptian branch of Christianity whose believers are about 10 per cent of Egypt’s population. He is said to be virulently anti-Muslim.

Another right-wing Coptic Egyptian-American, Morris Sadek, spread the video to the Middle East via his anti-Islam Arabic-language blog.

The film is also linked to Joseph Nasralla Abdelmasih, another far-right Egyptian-American Coptic Christian who has been promoted by many of the country’s most vocal anti-Muslim agitators.

The Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America has issued a statement condemning the film and affirming that “such efforts to insult and offend a neighbour with which the Copts have coexisted for nearly 14 centuries … contradict the virtues of love and tolerance by which Christians are governed.”

Sadek apparently has close ties to extremist anti-Obama Florida pastor Terry Jones, who has promoted the film. Sadek’s blog displays a photo of him with Jones at a recent anti-Islam protest in Washington.

A writer for US advocacy group Right-Wing Watch looked at Sadek’s Facebook page before it was taken down. It showed Sadek as a fan of the Republican Party, the right-wing Hudson Institute, right-wing ideologue Daniel Pipes, Jones’s extremist Stand Up America and similar groups.

Steve Klein, an ex-marine described as a “consultant” on the film, “has been active in extremist movements for decades” and “is allied with Christian activist groups across California,” according to a report by the Southern Poverty Law Centre, which tracks extremist groups.

The report says that in 2011 Klein worked with the California-based Christian Anti-Defamation Commission “on a campaign to ‘arm’ students with the ‘truth about Islam and Muhammad’ – mainly by leafleting high schools with literature depicting the Prophet Mohammed as a sex-crazed paedophile.”

The group’s advisory board includes figures from a long list of far-right groups, including the Operation Rescue anti-abortion bombers, the Minuteman border vigilantes and far-right minister Rick Scarborough.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Centre report, Klein has recently formed close ties to the Church at Kaweah, “a secretive cohort of militant Christian fundamentalists” that maintains a militia.

Its website offers for sale a DVD titled To Teach Them War in which “Christian audiences will be exhorted and equipped to begin to train martially.”

Klein conducts drills with the Christian Guardians, a San Francisco-based group headed by a US-born Pakistani Christian who calls Islam “a giant crime syndicate” and hopes his group will become “the most feared militia in the world.” The Church at Kaweah has sponsored joint trainings with the Christian Guardians.

Klein also has ties to extremist anti-abortion and anti-immigrant groups such as the Minutemen.

He has a weekly online satellite TV show called Wake Up America carried on The Way TV station, which says it is “made up of Christians from around the world who believe God can use Christian satellite television to transform the Middle East, north Africa, Europe, America and Canada.” Nasralla is listed as producer.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Wednesday appeared to identify the film as representing “America’s values.”

Continuing his criticism of the Obama administration for condemning the film, Romney declared: “Apology for America’s values is never the right course.”

He was backed by Republican Senator Jim DeMint, who said: “It was disheartening to hear the administration condemn Americans engaging in free speech that hurt the feelings of Muslims.”

Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus echoed the far-right mantra, saying: “Obama sympathises with attackers in Egypt.”

Former defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld also tweeted support.

Bernard Haykel, professor of Near Eastern studies at Princeton University, told the New York Times: “This is really about political or symbolic opportunists, who use religious symbols to advance their own power or prestige against other groups.”

He was referring to the Libyan events, but the same clearly applies to the US.

By Sunny Hundal:

Some 30,000 Libyans marched in the city of Benghazi to protest against the extremist militias that are starting to terrorise ordinary people.

The march was a backlash to the attack on the US Embassy ten days ago, and Libyans carried signs saying: “The ambassador was Libya’s friend” and “Libya lost a friend.”

Why the Mideast Exploded, Really: here.

Just as McCarthyism Claimed to Fight Godless Communists, Boykinism Condones War on Idolatrous Muslims: here.

Although progressive Christians have been at the forefront of social justice, conservative Christians are often on the wrong side of history: here.

7 thoughts on “Islamophobic film and Christian fundamentalists

  1. There may be reasons why these Coptic Christians have turned so virulent.

    Family of Murdered Egyptian Christians On the Run Due to Muslim Terror by Mary Abdelmassih

    (AINA) — Two weeks after the murder of two Christian brothers by Muslims during the violence that swept the upper Egyptian village of elGhorayzat, the family of the murdered Christians has temporarily come out of hiding to speak of the terror they have been subjected to and decry the impunity enjoyed by the killers, who are walking freely in the village.

    On November 28, the two Christian brothers, Kamel Tamer Abraham (55) and Camille Tamer Abraham (50), were killed in revenge for the death of the Muslim Mohamad Abdel-Nazeer, who was injured during an altercation with a village Christian over the building of a fence round the Christian’s house, and who later died in hospital. The Christian man fled from the village with his family.

    Mahmoud Abdel-Nazeer, the brother of the dead Muslim, and a mob of Muslims, vowed to avenge his death from all village Copts. They went on a rampage, looting and burning Christian owned homes and businesses, and resulted in the murder of the two brothers and injury to several other Christians not involved in the altercation (AINA 11-30-2011).

    Karam Tamer Abraham, the brother of Kamel and Camille, said that his two murdered brothers were killed in lieu of the life of the Muslim, explaining that the Muslims asked for the lives of his two brothers because they are “the Christian elders of the village.” He said that the family is in no way related to and does not even know the Christian involved in the death of the Muslim.

    The Tamer Abraham family refused any “reconciliation” with the murderers, and insisted that the rule of law should prevail. “We will get our rights by law, and we will never accept reconciliation, whatever the consequences. We are not in a jungle.” He said that all this happened to the family because they are Christians.

    According to Karam, after the murders, Muslims looted three flats in the family house, and their shop, “while the security forces stood there watching.”

    The three men who participated in the killings, according to eyewitnesses, were Mahmoud Abdul-Nazeer, Sabry Mohammad el-Sayed and a third man unknown to them.

    “Reconciliation” sessions are usually arranged by the Egyptian security authorities, after every violence against Christians, and result in Christians being pressured to give up their rights.

    Currently the entire Abraham family are on the run, after having received death threats from the son of the dead Muslim, Mohammad Abdul-Nazeer, who demands that all four family children also have to be killed.

    • I mentioned violence in Egypt against Coptic Christians (by the armed forces) in the blog post

      http://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/2011/10/10/egyptian-military-kill-christians/

      which I had linked to in this post.

      However, extremists like bank fraudster/film fraudster Nakula are totally unrepresentative of Coptic Christians.

      As I already quoted:

      “The Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America has issued a statement condemning the film and affirming that “such efforts to insult and offend a neighbour with which the Copts have coexisted for nearly 14 centuries … contradict the virtues of love and tolerance by which Christians are governed.”

      When the Muslim armies first came to Egypt in the seventh century, the Coptic Christians welcomed them. The Byzantine Empire Orthodox state church so far had persecuted them as heretics. That persecution stopped then (like many Roman Catholics in Spain also welcomed the Muslim invaders, because the Arian Christian Visigoth kings of Spain had persecuted Roman Catholics).

      Now, there is violence in Egypt because elites linked to armed forces violently play off Christians against Muslims to prevent the people from uniting against the elites.

    • Egypt: Acting Patriarch – Abuse of Religions Needs Firm Stance

      22 September 2012

      Acting Patriarch Anba Bakhomious reiterated the Coptic Church’s rejection of getting its name involved in the issue of the anti-Islam movie that was produced in the United States.

      He noted that the church has denounced insulting Prophet Muhammad and condemned the film.

      In exclusive statements to “Al-Ahram” newspaper, Bakhomious said “I say to our Muslim brothers that we do not accept making insults against any of the religious icons. Just like we denounced the anti-Islam film, we condemn the shameful act of the man who burnt the Gospel and made bad utterances”.

      Anba Bakhomious added that all such things do not serve our religious causes. He called on all political and religious powers to take a firm stance to stop such infringements on religions and sanctities.

      http://allafrica.com/stories/201209220508.html

  2. Pingback: Libya, the CIA and Syria | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Libyan US ambassador murder, what politicians forget | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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