Federal authorities question anti-Islam filmmaker
Federal authorities interviewed the California man believed to be behind the anti-Muslim video responsible for sparking protests around the Middle East to determine if he had violated his parole by making the short film.
According to KTLA-TV, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived at Nakoula Basseley Nakoula’s home in Cerritos, California, after midnight Saturday night to take him to a voluntary interview at the county sheriff’s office.
Nakoula later emerged from the interview with his face covered, wearing a hat and glasses, hanging his head before quickly being ushered into a vehicle.
The 55-year-old Coptic Christian man, thought to have uploaded the 14-minute video online under the alias “Sam Bacile,” has been under police protection since the protests erupted against the film, which slams both the Islamic figure Mohammed and Islam as a religion.
Nakoula is currently under supervised probation for a bank fraud conviction that specifies he cannot get on the Internet without his probation officer’s approval. A federal spokesperson said Friday his probation is under review.
The Riverside Press-Enterprise also reported that a consultant on the film, Steven Klein, has said he has received death threats of his own, answering the door for a Friday interview with a pistol in his hand.
Klein, a resident of Hemet who served as a script consultant, had previously said he believed “Muslim extremists” control most of the mosques in the U.S and denounced Islam on his own satellite television show, Wake Up America, aired on a local Arab Christian station.
“I hate Islam,” Klein said on the show on Aug. 30. “I don’t ever want to see it (Islam) again.”
Both Klein and Nakoula, along with Joseph Nastralla, the leader of the Christian charity that secured the permit to film the video in California, have admitted in the past to following the views of anti-Islamic preacher Zakaria Botros Henein, a Coptic Christian based in Southern California.
Footage of Nakoula being escorted by authorities, posted Saturday, can be seen below.