Reports: Producer of film linked to riots neither Israeli nor Jewish

( New information has come to light that Sam Bacile—the name of the alleged producer of the anti-Islamic film “Innocence of Muslims” that sparked riots at U.S. embassies in three Middle Eastern countries—is a pseudonym and that the real producer is not Israeli or Jewish, as initial reports indicated.

“I don’t know that much about him,” said Steve Klein, a home insurance salesman from Riverside, Calif., who has been described in several media accounts as a consultant to the film, according to the Atlantic. “I met him, I spoke to him for an hour. He’s not Israeli, no. I can tell you this for sure, the State of Israel is not involved, Terry Jones (the fundamentalist Christian pastor) is not involved. His name is a pseudonym. All these Middle Eastern folks I work with have pseudonyms. I doubt he’s Jewish. I would suspect this is a disinformation campaign.” 

Californian Coptic Christian Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, confirmed Wednesday that he was involved with “Innocence of Muslims.” Although he denied being Sam Bacile, a phone number called by the Associated Press on Tuesday matched Nakoula’s address. These findings suggest that the film may have been produced by Coptic Christians to protest their persecution in Muslim countries.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Bacile originally identified himself as a 52-year-old Israeli-American real estate developer from California who raised $5 million from Jewish donors to make the film. News outlets have been unable to contact Bacile to confirm his identity. 

Since a trailer for the film was uploaded on YouTube, the film has been linked to riots at U.S. embassies in Libya, Egypt and Yemen. In Libya, four embassy staff members—including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens—were killed. 

More recent reports, however, indicate that the attack on the Libyan embassy may have been planned in advance of the release of the movie and was intended to coincide with the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center as vengeance for June’s death of an Al-Qaeda Libyan deputy in a U.S. drone strike. Additionally, USA Today reported that in Egypt, the attack may have been the plans of a terrorist group called Jamaa Islamiya that had announced plans to protest the imprisonment of Sheikh Omar abdel Rahman, its leader and a perpetrator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Posted on September 13, 2012 .