Anti-Islam movie Innocence of Muslims sparks rage throught Middle East

Some jokers in California release a low budget movie mocking Muhammad and the entire Arab world goes crazy, attacking American Embassies and murdering innocent people. Does this not prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that Islam is a deadly, demonic religion?




return to questions


Dear PYL


The wave of rage and violence that has swept the swept the Middle East this past week has stunned the world and left veteran analysts and commentators struggling for explanations. Many are speechless. The simplest explanation is that the Islamic nations are possessed and driven by demonic forces. Simple explanations are always comforting, but rarely true.


Before examining the question, let us consider the facts as they are currently reported. The spark that has been blamed for igniting the wave of violence is the trailer of a film called the Innocence of Muslims, also known by other working titles.  The YouTube trailer, which has outraged the Middle East, has been attributed to Sam Bacile, an Israeli Jew.  No such person is known to exist.


The actual mastermind behind the film appears to be Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, an Egyptian Copt Christian living in the USA.  Nakoula is a convicted fraudster and nefarious character.  The similarity between the pseudonym ‘Bacile’ and Nakoula’s middle name ‘Basseley’ is probably not coincidental.


The movie was produced by the non-profit organization Media for Christ which is also associated with Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.  Media for Christ was granted film permits to shoot the movie. Nakoula personally paid the actors and provided his home as a set.

The movie was directed by Alan Roberts (AKA Robert Brownell), a B-movie director and editor of softcore porn films such The Sexpert and The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood.


The public spokesman for the film is Steve Klein, a Vietnam veteran who has been active in opposing Islam and has been associated with paramilitary hate groups at his church. Klein was hired by Nakoula and he has stated that "Sam Bacile" is not a real person and is neither Israeli nor Jewish.  Sam Bacile is a pseudonym for a group of Copts and Evangelical Christians from Syria, Turkey, Pakistan and Egypt.  


The 80 cast and crew of Innocence of Muslims have publicly stated that they were deceived about the purpose and content of the film. "The entire cast and crew are extremely upset and feel taken advantage of by the producer. We are 100% not behind this film and were grossly misled about its intent and purpose. We are shocked by the drastic re-writes of the script and lies that were told to all involved. We are deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred."


Two film trailers were released on YouTube on July 1. The clips were dubbed into Arabic during August and were brought to the attention of the Arabic-speaking world by Christian Coptic blogger Morris Sadek, whose Egyptian citizenship had been revoked for promoting calls for an attack on Egypt. On September 8, a two-minute excerpt from the film was broadcast on Al-Nas TV, an Egyptian Islamist television station. Violent protests broke out on September 11, the eleventh anniversary of the Al-Qaeda attacks on the USA. Protests spread to Libya, Yemen and other Arab and Muslim nations over the following days. An attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in at least 14 deaths; including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens who had helped opposition forces liberate Libya from the Gaddafi regime.


By yesterday (September 14) anti-American rage over this video had spread to 20 countries. Attacks had expanded to diplomatic properties of Germany and Britain and other Western governments.


What is wrong with this picture?


The outpouring of violence is bewildering and terrifying because it appears to defy all laws of cause and effect. If the cause of the rage is a movie, then the makers of the film would logically be the targets of rage.


When Salman Rushdie published the Satanic Verses in 1988, Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini issued a Fatwa ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie personally. Similarly, when Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh produced the film Submission in 2008, a religious avenger attacked and killed him personally. Christian avengers have also followed the same logic by directly targeting their hatred of abortion against clinics and doctors who practice abortion.  These acts are criminal but obey direct logic; random violence does not.


Islamic mobs horrified the world in 2008 after the Dutch paper Jyllands-Posten published cartoons of Muhammad. Attacks on Dutch embassies throughout the Middle East that resulted in the killing of 100 innocent victims.  This random tit-for-tat violence is reminiscent of Ireland when the Irish Republican Army and the Ulster Defense Association would randomly kill ‘one of the enemy’ as an act of reprisal and terror. 


The other problem with current violence in the Middle East is the inability or unwillingness of governments and rulers to stop it, or bring to justice the leaders and murderers. These volatile countries are beset by an underlying rage that is quick to ignite, and their governments are reluctant to draw the fury upon themselves.   


Widespread, spontaneous, random violence defies explanation and is beyond human control, but is the cause demonic control?  If we accept the simple explanation that Islam is a dangerous and demonic religion, then all Muslims are dangerous, and Christianity, Judaism and all non-Muslim religions have no choice but to declare pre-emptive war in self-defence. This threat of a global war of religions leads atheists to the simple conclusion that all religions are deranged and dangerous.  If this is true, atheists are in a hopeless situation because they are hopelessly outnumbered. 


 Is all religion evil?  It is possible to demonstrate that good and noble things have been done in the name of Islam, just as it is possible to demonstrate that bad and ignoble things have been done in the name of Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and indeed all religion, even pacifist Buddhism. 


Is religion, like human nature, an impenetrable confusion of good and evil that never can or will be understood?  My answer is no.  I will attempt to explain what I believe to be the underlying cause of religious violence.


There are two fundamentally different ways of conceiving of the Creator of the universe and the purpose of Creation. One is angry, violent and wrathful; the other is loving, regenerative and compassionate.  All religions contain both, to different degrees, at different times.


Islam is currently dominated by the angry, violent and wrathful God who hates infidels, hacks off the hands of thieves, stones adulterers, and will murder innocent bystanders who have some remote connection to a cartoonist or filmmaker.  These acts are repulsive, but they have uncomfortable echoes throughout Christianity in the mass conversion of pagans, genocide of savages, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the 30 Years War and so forth.


The common element behind all of these horrors is the Wrathful God who commands his followers to impose the True Faith upon miscreants by use of force.  They share a belief that their God has delegated to the faithful the duty and responsibility to enforce all of the laws and commandments and inflict the prescribed penalties. The most violent and oppressive forms of Christianity are based upon the Augustinian/ Lutheran/ Calvinist belief that all humans are tainted with Original Sin inherited from Adam and Eve in Eden and are therefore condemned to eternal torment unless ‘saved’ according to rites and rituals that have varied greatly throughout the history of Christianity: from baptism, to predestination of the elect, to simply uttering the Sinner’s Prayer. Is the Gospel of Wrath demonic?  It is certainly evil and has a long history of senseless violence.


The diametrically opposed view of God is based on freewill and personal responsibility.  Personal freedom causes sin and suffering.  The God of love is not intent upon punishing sin but in assisting the righteous to overcome it. The God of love does not cause suffering, but heals it.  Disciples of the God of Love seek divine assistance to overcome sin and suffering in their own lives. They may become models and inspirations for their friends and neighbours.  This concept of personal righteousness is prominent throughout the history of Christianity. It is also the central to Islam. The Greater Jihad is the internal struggle against sin and destructive desires. The lesser Jihad, which has dominated Islam for decades, is a religious war against non-Muslims.


During the past 100 years, many Christians have rejected the Augustinian Gospel of Wrath and the angry God who condemns all non-Christians to eternal torment. Denominations that have embraced an anti-Wrath form of Christianity have decided that God loves everybody, a Hell of eternal torment is impossible, sin and suffering are inevitable, a Saviour is unnecessary and everything beyond this life is unknowable and perhaps imaginary. Therefore let us be as kind, thoughtful and helpful to others as possible.


The Gospel of anti-Wrath is a great improvement. It is non-violent, non-judgemental and consistently guided by the Golden Rule. But is has no need of a literal God or any reality beyond this life.  Churches that embrace the Gospel of anti-Wrath quickly decline and disintegrate.  When the gospel of anti-Wrath is presented as the only alternative to the Gospel of Wrath, believers either blindly submit to the God of Wrath or turn against religion altogether.


What happened to Gospel of Love?  It has been eclipsed by wrath, anti-wrath and atheism. This is a tragedy as great as the random, senseless violence that has engulfed the Middle East again this week.


Questions or Comments?


Tags: Innocence of Muslims, Sam Bacile, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula,  Media for Christ, Alan Roberts, Robert Brownell, Steve Klein, Morris Sadek, Al-Nas TV, Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Salman Rushdie, Satanic Verses, Ayatollah Khomeini, Theo Van Gogh, Submission, Jyllands-Posten, Irish Republican Army, Ulster Defense Association.