Fanning the flames

The US ambassador to Libya and several employees at the US embassy in Benghazi have been killed by Muslim fundamentalists in reaction to a short clip that portrayed Muhammad in a not very flattering manner.

This is just plain wrong: there is never an excuse for reacting with violence, let alone murder, to some form of media statement, be it movie, photo, painting, book, newspaper article. Never!

In this particular case, however, it seems that the movie was produced by anti-Islamists with the express purpose of creating this kind of backlash:

Titled “Innocence of Muslims,” the movie presents Muhammad as a simple-minded pedophile and sensualist, shown having sex with multiple women, and his followers are portrayed as dumb, bloodthirsty Bedouins. The movie also contests the belief that the Koran was a divine revelation.

“Islam is a cancer, period,” says the director, a real estate developer. He also says the film has been shown in its entirety only once so far, to a half-empty movie theater in Hollywood.

One of Bacile’s backers is Morris Sadek, a Coptic Christian from Egypt. Originally a human rights activist who worked on behalf of this Christian minority in his homeland, Sadek’s positions have grown increasingly radical in recent years.

For example, Sadek describes Arabic as the “language of the invaders” and campaigns for Egypt to return to the ancient Coptic language. He also advocates the establishment of a Christian parallel government, which would lead an independent Coptic state in Egypt.

Along with Sadek, Evangelical pastor Terry Jones is also publicizing the movie. Notorious for his hatred of Islam, the Florida pastor called last year for the burning of the Koran and ultimately set a copy of the holy book on fire in his church. This action was followed by violent protests in Afghanistan that left seven United Nations workers dead and 76 people injured.

The Exiled has similar information:

While Bacile claims to be in hiding, and his identity remains murky, another character who has been publicly listed as a consultant on the film is a known anti-Muslim activist with ties to the extreme Christian right and the militia movement. He is Steve Klein, a Hemet, California based insurance salesman who claims to have led a “hunter-killer team” in Vietnam.

Klein is also closely affiliated with the Christian right in California, organizing resentment against all the usual targets — Muslims, homosexuals, feminists, and even Mormons. He is a board memberand founder of a group called Courageous Christians United, which promotes anti-Mormon, anti-Catholic and anti-Muslim literature (including the work of Robert Spencer) on its website. In 2002, Klein ran for the California Insurance Commissioner under the American Independent Party, an extremist fringe party linked to the militia movement, garnering a piddling 2 percent of the vote.

Klein has been closely affiliated with the Church at Kaweah, an extreme evangelical church located 70 miles southeast of Fresno that serves as a nexus of neo-Confederate, Christian Reconstructionist, and militia movement elements. The Southern Poverty Law Center produced a report on Kaweah this spring that noted Klein’s long record of activist against Muslims.

So these Christian fundamentalists were aiming to stir up shit and since the Muslim fundamentalists stand to gain from this, they gladly went along:

This time, too, Islamist groups have deftly fanned the flames of their followers’ anger. In many cases, it was they who circulated and publicized the video over YouTube and other video platforms over the past few days. At the same time, they spread rumors that the government in Washington backed the filmmakers and planned to broadcast the film on American television on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Salafists in Egypt, whose Al-Nour Party, or “Party of Light,” emerged as the second strongest force in Egypt’s 2011 parliamentary elections for the now dissolved People’s Assembly, called for protests. Storming the embassy in Cairo was also a show of force aimed at President Mohammed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who the Salafists find too pro-US. Among the ringleaders of the unrest in Cairo on Tuesday was Mohammed al-Zawahiri, brother of al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. Mohammed al-Zawahiri had been in prison in Egypt since 1999, but was released in March 2011, after Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow.

That’s been the ongoing story since 9/11/2001: religious fundamentalists of the Abrahamic religions working hand-in-glove to increase their power by manipulating hapless fools, screwing up other people’s lives in general, and women’s, gays’, and minorities’ in particular, in the process. Yes, Jewish fundamentalists are not one bit better.

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