‘Innocence of Muslims’ wrongly blamed for attacks, filmmaker says

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies take a man believed to be Nakoula Basseley Nakoula into custody in an unmarked car for questioning.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The filmmaker behind “Innocence of Muslims,” which sparked rioting across the Muslim world, said the movie was wrongly blamed for leading to a lethal attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, in an interview with CNN, said the Obama administration was irresponsible in initially linking the Libya attack — in which Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, an aide and two CIA contractors died — to his movie.

“Guys, before you do anything, please give yourself time to think about it because you are responsible people,” he said in the interview, referring to the administration.


“Innocence of Muslims” was filmed and first released in Southern California. A 14-minute trailer for the movie was posted on YouTube and included scenes portraying the prophet Muhammad as a womanizer and a pedophile.

A statement released on behalf of the cast and crew deplored the movie and the deaths of the Americans in Libya. The statement said those involved were “grossly misled” about the film’s intent and that cast and crew members were “deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred.”

“I never thought my movie can cause anyone trouble or anyone can get killed from my movie,” Nakoula told CNN. He said the government is “hiding him.”

Nakoula was sentenced in November to a year in prison after admitting to four violations, including lying to his probation officer regarding a 2010 credit card fraud conviction and for using bogus names.

Prosecutors dropped four other counts, including allegations he lied to federal officials in telling them his role in the film’s production was limited to writing the script.

Nakoula changed his name to Mark Basseley Youssef and had also used the name Sam Bacile.

He was granted supervised release from federal prison, according to CNN.

Nakoula told CNN that those who reacted violently to the film are “stupid people; they didn’t even show the whole movie.”


He said the movie was political, not religious, and he wished accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and accused Ft. Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan had seen it because it might have prevented the attacks.

“I have Muslim friends,” Nakoula said. “I am against the terrorism culture.”


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