Controversial filmmaker taken in for questioning

Maker of film that spurred current outrage in Muslim world taken in by feds

By Dylan Hackett, News Editor

Early on Saturday morning, Los Angeles County police took in Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, a filmmaker allegedly tied to the film, Innocence of Muslims.

The film is being held responsible for the outrage of a group of Libyans who subsequently murdered the US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American embassy employees. German, British, and American embassies have become hubs of protest against the film across the Middle East. The controversial filmmaker was allegedly taken in for questioning at his local sheriff’s office for unrelated financial crimes.

“They took him to the local sheriff’s station where he was interviewed. He has since left the area. He was never handcuffed, never arrested, never detained, never in custody. It was all voluntary,” said Sheriff’s Deputy Don Walker.

Nakoula is a member of the Coptic Christian church—an Egyptian sect of Christians who incorporate ancient rituals into their practice. The church’s Los Angeles Diocese issued a statement last Thursday condemning both the film and the murderers who allegedly used RPGs to attack the US consulate.

“We strongly condemn the brutal murder of the United States ambassador to Libya and three of the embassy employees. In order for peace to reign throughout the world, brutality and hatred must be swiftly condemned and punished,” said a press release from the Coptic Orthodox Diocese. “Furthermore, the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Los Angeles, Southern California & Hawaii strongly rejects dragging the respectable Copts of the Diaspora in the latest production of an inflammatory movie about the prophet of Islam. The producers of this movie should be responsible for their actions.”

The current outrage has much in common with the 1989 outrage against Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses, which caused a fatwā to be issued against the novelist and of the outrage caused by a Danish cartoonist’s, Jyllands-Posten, depiction of the prophet Muhammad. In both cases, many of the violent protesters had neither read the novel nor seen the cartoons. In 2005, protesters attacked government embassies of Denmark worldwide because of the nationality of Jyllands-Posten’s publication.