One has to be very cautious when making a political or religious movie. Politics is an instrument of pressure and power, religion is sacred for many.
When filmmaker combines the two, the end result can be very unpredictable, as it turned out to be with “Innocence of Muslims”, a $5 million budget movie directed by a man named Sam Bacile.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the film has been made with the help from Jewish donations and private investments.
Bacile’s two hour film attacking Islam’s Prophet Muhammad sparked angry assaults by ultra-conservative Muslims on U.S. missions in Egypt and Libya, where a U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed.
Iranian officials have also expressed their anger over the film. Iran’s Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani has condemned as ‘abhorrent’ the anti-Islam movie, noting that that the US government must be held accountable for such insults to Islamic sanctities and added, “The US politicians’ claims of supporting and respecting different cultures are … a blatant lie.”
Iran’s Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Mohammad Hosseini also condemned the film and described it as another instance of “the Zionists” insults [to Islam] supported by the leaders of the US capitalist system.”
Interesting thing is, actors that participated in the film had no idea it was about Islam and Prophet Mohammed.
According to Gawker, Cindy Lee Garcia, an actress from Bakersfield, Calif., has a small role in the Muhammed movie, and she had no idea she was participating in an offensive spoof on the life of Muhammed when she answered a casting call through an agency.
Even the title of the film was different back then – “Desert Warriors”, which was later changed to “Innocence of Muslims”.
“It was going to be a film based on how things were 2,000 years ago,” Garcia told Gawker. “It wasn’t based on anything to do with religion, it was just on how things were run in Egypt. There wasn’t anything about Muhammed or Muslims or anything.”
In the script and during the shooting, nothing indicated the controversial nature of the final product, now called Muslim Innocence. Muhammed wasn’t even called Muhammed; he was “Master George,” Garcia said. The word “Muhammed” was dubbed over in post-production, as were essentially all other offensive references to Islam and Muhammed.
For example, at 9:03 in the trailer, Garcia berates her husband, who wants to send their daughter to Muhammed: “Is your Muhammed a child molester?” she says in the final product. But the words are dubbed over what she actually said. The line in the script—and the line Garcia gave during filming—was, “is your God a child molester,” Garcia told Gawker.
Garcia was horrified when she saw the end product, and when protesters in Libya killed four U.S. Embassy employees.
“I had nothing to do really with anything,” she said today. “Now we have people dead because of a movie I was in. It makes me sick.”
According to Garcia, her three days on set last July were unremarkable. The film’s mysterious pseudonymous writer and director, “Sam Bacile,” has claimed to be an Israeli real estate mogul. But Garcia said Bacile told her he was Egyptian on set. Bacile had white hair and spoke Arabic to a number of “dark-skinned” men who hung around the set, she said.
The CNN later reported that the entire 80-member cast and crew of the film have released a statement saying they were misled.
Meanwhile, Sam Bacile, the director of the film himself, went into hiding, after his film sparkled angry assaults on U.S. missions in Egypt and Libya.
Protesters angered over Bacile’s film opened fire on and burned down the U.S. Consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, killing U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others on Tuesday. In Egypt, protesters scaled the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and replaced an American flag with an Islamic banner.
“This is a political movie,” said Bacile. “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. And Islam is a cancer, period.”
Bacile, a California real estate developer who identifies himself as an Israeli Jew, said he believes the movie will help his native land by exposing Islam’s flaws to the world.
Well, the fact is – the film did not expose anything, yet only made matters worse – innocent people died as a result of the provocative film. U.S. president Barack Obama and the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both expressed their sorrow and condemned the horrific acts of violence over Americans in Libya.
Sam Bacile of course should be held responsible for the impact that his movie made, as this what can happe when you “play with fire”. In other words – the film did not help anything, it only added fuel to the fire.
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