Film 'Innocence of Muslims' at Center of Deadly U.S. Embassy Attacks
Outrage over a controversial film about Islam which depicts the Prophet Mohammad in a degrading manner is said to be the reason that two American embassies were attacked on Tuesday resulting in the deaths of at least four Americans.
The outrage is centered on the film "Innocence of Muslims" and is said to have led to the most recent series of violent acts against American installations in the volatile Middle East region.
The film was created by Israeli filmmaker Sam Bacile and promoted by Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who caused outrage throughout the Muslim world when he declared he would burn the Koran as a protest of Islam in 2010.
The film depicts the Prophet Mohammad as a womanizing goon whose followers are mindless thugs. It also shows the Prophet in compromising sexual positions and offers insults to Islam as punch lines.
Those depictions, coupled with the fact that Muslims find it extremely offensive to depict the prophet in any form, ignited an already flammable base of Islamic extremists.
Bacile is reportedly already in hiding and anticipated the backlash that his film would cause. The California based filmmaker, during a phone call from an undisclosed location, told reporters that Islam is a cancer and that its flawed principals need to be exposed.
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"This is a political movie…the U.S. lost a lot of money and a lot of people in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but we're fighting with ideas," said Bacile, according to AP, adding that "Islam is a cancer, period."
This film was reportedly made last year and cost $5 million to make. The funds were collected through donations by over 100 individuals, Bacile stated.
The film caused a mob, estimated to have several hundred demonstrators, to assemble in front of the American embassy in Cairo and were then able to breach the security line by scaling the outer wall.
Demonstrators then ripped down the American flag and began to set it on fire. There were no reports of gunfire and no reported casualties.
The attackers then flew a black flag that has been known to represent groups with associations to al-Qaeda and other militant groups.
The Embassy in Libya was also attacked when a group, containing about two dozen people, opened fire and stormed the embassy with machine guns and rocket propelled grenades. During the attack the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, was killed along with three other Americans whose identities have not been released pending notification of their families.
The attack was believed to have been carried out by Ansar al-Sharia, an al Qaeda-style Sunni Islamist groupthat has been active in Benghazi, a Libyan security official told Reuters.