American-Made Trailer Triggers Virulent Anti-U.S. Protests in Egypt, Libya
A film trailer portraying the Muslim Prophet Mohammad as a grotesque caricature with "young girl" wives triggered anti-U.S. protests in Egypt and Libya on Tuesday. leaving one State Department official dead.
The source of sudden rage? Egyptian media outlets discovered and reported on the 14-minute trailer, originally uploaded to YouTube in July, after someone using the name "sam bacile" posted a version dubbed in Arabic, reported the New York Times.
The film at the center of the violence, titled "Innocence of Muslims," was directed and produced by Israeli-American California real-estate developer Sam Bacile, who called Islam "a cancer," according to the Wall Street Journal.
That filmmaker has gone into hiding, according to media reports.
Angry demonstrators, captured on amateur video, stormed the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and ripped apart an American flag. Gunmen with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, also motivated by the trailer, attacked U.S. consulate offices in the Libyan city Benghazi to protest the anti-Islam scenes they called "blasphemous," Reuters reported.
The protesters set the consulate on fire and late Tuesday Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton confirmed that a State Department officer had been killed in the Benghazi attack.
"The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others." she said. "But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind."
"Islamic, Islamic. The right of our prophet will not die," chanted protesting crowds, according to an Associated Press report.
"The main problem is I am the first one to put on the screen someone who is [portraying] Muhammad. It makes them mad," the amateur filmmaker told the Associated Press. "But we have to open the door. After 9/11 everybody should be in front of the judge, even Jesus, even Muhammad."
Bacile, who said in the interview that he planned to produce 200 hours on the same subject, didn't know who added the translations to his original English-language trailer.
The Arabic-dubbed video (posted below) had garnered more than 40,000 views by Tuesday afternoon.