Anti-Islam movie-maker forced to go into hiding
Had it not been for the internet, Sam Bacile’s foray into third-rate film-making would have slipped into obscurity, with its wooden acting, hopeless scripting and schoolboy production skills largely unnoticed.
Last night, however, the California property developer – who identifies himself as an Israeli Jew – was in hiding after his two-hour movie, Innocence of Muslims, was blamed as a spark that ignited the deadly attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.
The film is packed with insulting depictions of the prophet Muhammad, involved 59 actors and 45 production crew and, Mr Bacile claims, was bankrolled by 100 Jewish benefactors to the tune of $5 million (£3m) – a pricetag at odds with the amateurish quality of the finished product. It has been screened in public just once, to a mostly empty cinema in Hollywood.
Its promotion on the web by a similarly controversial Islam-baiter, firebrand “pastor” Terry Jones – and the posting online of an Arabic transcript, helped Mr Bacile, 56, to win his declared goal of goading Muslims. It was an “achievement” that he knew before the film’s launch could bring dire consequences.
“You’re going to be the next Theo van Gogh,” one of the film’s associates, Steve Klein, told Mr Bacile during production last year, referring to a Dutch film-maker killed by a Muslim extremist in Amsterdam in 2004 for his public criticisms of Islam.
Mr Bacile has expressed sorrow for the casualties in Benghazi, but continued to goad Islam even from his hideout yesterday. “Islam is a cancer,” he said.
On Tuesday, the anniversary of 9/11, Jones staged a mock trial of the prophet Muhammad at his church, where an effigy of Islam’s founder swings from a gallows outside.
He did not support Innocence of Muslims financially, but has promoted it online.
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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