WASHINGTON (CBSDC) - A controversial film insulting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad sparked furious protests in Egypt and Libya, leading to the death of an American Ambassador and three other Americans.
U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed Tuesday night while attempting to evacuate staff at the American consulate as the building came under fire from guns and rockets. It does not appear Stevens was targeted in the attack.
Elsewhere, protesters in Cairo scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy and replaced an American flag with an Islamic banner.
Sam Bacile, 56, director of “Innocence of Muslims” says Islam is a cancer and he intended for the film to be a provocative statement condemning the religion. He identifies himself as an Israeli Jew who wishes to expose Islam’s flaws to the world.
The film is allegedly funded by Florida pastor Terry Jones – who publicly burned a Koran last April, despite pleas from Defense Secretary Robert Gates – as well as two Egyptians living in the U.S. who are believed to be Coptic, the Christian minority in Egypt.
The $5 million project first gained attention in Egypt and Libya from controversial television show host, Sheikh Khaled Abdallah – world renowned for his comment “Iran is more dangerous to us than the Jews” – who played clips of the thirteen minute trailer on his show just days ago. Abdallah slammed “Innocence of Muslims” on the air just days before the deadly protests erupted., professing it to be an American-Coptic plot.
Something as simple as a cultural miscommunication could potentially be to blame. In Egypt movies must be approved by the state before being released to the public, as suggested by The Atlantic. Protestors throughout Libya and Egypt may have assumed the movie that likened the Prophet Muhammad to an advocate of child sex abuse was endorsed by the U.S. government.
Bacile is currently in hiding fearing for his and his family’s lives.