Federal officials are investigating the maker of “Innocence for Muslims,” which sat unnoticed on YouTube for months.
The wave of indignation and rage over the film, which portrays the Prophet Mohammad as a womanizer and a fool.
The Libyan U.S. consulate attack was allegedly triggered by the discovery of an anti-Islamic film produced in the United States by someone linked to Morris Sadek, an Egyptian Copt resident in the United States. It was the film’s translation into Arabic and broadcast on Arab TV stations and talk shows that sparked the violence—although investigations are now under way in Washington to establish whether the worst of the violence was not spontaneous.
In Egypt, the religious TV channel al-Nas showed clips from the offending video, dubbed into Arabic, and scenes posted online have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.
Egypt Independent, the English version of one of Egypt’s leading newspapers Al Masry al Youm, has reported that Sadek was banned from entering Egypt and had his citizenship revoked in May 2011 because he called for war against the country.
Egyptian Coptic organizations moved quickly to distance themselves. Egyptian intellectual and researcher Adel Guindy, president of Coptic Solidarity, said the much-hyped film was “stupid and sickening … We don’t know for sure if Maurice Sadek has anything to do with the film” but if he has, “I think Sadek took the opportunity to provoke Muslims in Egypt, as usual.”
As confusing as it may sound, it is quite a dangerous situation being played out in the Middle East.
According to the U.S. State Department and the U.S.-based Pew Research Center, Egypt’s 7 million Copts—about 10 percent of the population—face frequent personal and group discrimination. They have been barred from building churches and applying for government jobs, among other restrictions. Egyptian Christians’ fears have intensified since the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood won power there in June 2012.
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