Who made the anti-Muslim video? What L.A. County knows but is not saying (+video)
After being contacted by the FBI and State Department, L.A. County has blocked public access to the permit that was issued to shoot at least part of the anti-Muslim film. Permits name a film's writer, director, and producer, among others.
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Calls and e-mails to Mr. Klein have not been returned, but he has been widely quoted in media outlets as saying that he did consult on the film. He told The Atlantic on Wednesday that the people behind the project were “mostly evangelical” Christians.Skip to next paragraph
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The film is reportedly the source of the 14-minute YouTube video trailer that was dubbed in Arabic and played on Egyptian television, leading to the demonstrations at US diplomatic missions from Yemen to Cairo.
As to the making of the film, a number of the performers say they were hired through a Craig’s List casting call. CNN has posted what is billed as the original language of the casting call: “Historical desert drama set in Middle East.”
The performers also have said in their statements that their original lines have been dubbed over to include the inflammatory anti-Islamic rhetoric that was not present in the original script.
“It seems that the individuals behind this film, whatever their original faith backgrounds, now subscribe to a puritanical and exclusionary form of Evangelical Christianity,” says Hussein Rashid, Fordham University theology professor and associate editor of Religion Dispatches, via e-mail. Mr. Klein, he points out, claims to hunt out Muslim terror cells and has protested not only Muslims, but Mormons as well.
“What these individuals did was work with stereotypes of religious communities and hope to create conflict. Whether Jews and Muslims, or Christians and Muslims,” he says. After suggestions that a Coptic Christian is one of those behind the film, he says, “the Coptic Church has lambasted the film, and the strength of relations between Muslims and Jews is stronger than Islamophobes would ever understand.”
Professor Rashid says the moviemakers’ plan rested, in part, “on everyone being as full of hate as themselves. Fortunately, that's not the way the world actually is.”
This film is “clearly amateur hour,” he says. “The Islamophobia Industry” depends on “gradually pushing the line as to what is acceptable to say in polite company, and they will talk about how Muslims aren't American.”
But, he adds of Islamophobes, “even they have not gone the way of the direct racism and anti-Semitism of these filmmakers.”
L.A. County officials will not say when the permit will be available for public scrutiny. But, says Mr. Alsop, it reserves the right to release it with redacted sections, if deemed necessary, “for public safety.”
While this may trouble some who feel the public has a right to know who is behind a controversial film that may have had a role in at least four American deaths, L.A. officials are doing their due diligence, says Khalil Marrar, author of “the Arab Lobby in US foreign policy.”
“They do not want to have what happened to the Dutch filmmaker on their hands,” he says referring to Theo van Gogh, who was killed in 2004. “It is important to support freedom of speech, but the atmosphere is too inflamed to fully support that right now.”