Last Updated: Tue Sep 18, 2012 19:41 pm (KSA) 16:41 pm (GMT)

Christian charity says it was duped by anti-Islam producer

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (C) is escorted out of his home by Los Angeles County Sheriff's officers in Cerritos, California on Sept. 15, 2012 (Reuters)
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (C) is escorted out of his home by Los Angeles County Sheriff's officers in Cerritos, California on Sept. 15, 2012 (Reuters)

The leader of a Christian broadcasting charity says he too was duped by the reputed producer of an anti-Islamic film that triggered violent unrest across the Muslim world.

Media for Christ, based in the Los Angeles suburb of Duarte, California, has been identified as the production company behind “Innocence of Muslims,” in which the Prophet Mohammed is depicted as a thuggish womanizer.

But its president Joseph Nassralla said the film’s reputed producer Nakoula Basseley Nakoula deceived him when he called him last year to say he was “making a film about Christian persecution.”

“Nakoula needed a place to film,” said Nassralla in a statement relayed by conservative blogger Pamela Geller, who campaigns against what she regards as the Islamization of the United States and other Western cultures.

“So I let him use my facility (for 10 days) -- that is all I did, and is the full extent of my involvement with this project,” he said in the statement, which Geller posted Monday on her Atlas Shrugs website.

Nassralla could not be reached by telephone for comment Tuesday.

Nakoula, 55, an Egyptian Copt and convicted fraudster out on parole, has gone into hiding, but several cast members have stated they never knew they had signed on to an anti-Islamic project.

They said the film -- set 2,000 years ago in a Middle Eastern desert with a key character oddly named George and little apparent plot -- was dubbed in post-production to insert the name Mohammed.

“Nakoula altered the film without anyone’s knowledge, changing its entire focus and dubbing in new dialogue,” Nassralla said.

“He edited it. The final product, ‘Innocence of Muslims,’ bore no resemblance to the film I thought he was making, or the film the actors thought they were creating,” he added.

“We were shocked... Nakoula is the only one known right now to be responsible for the content of this movie.”

Nassralla also alleged that Nakoula, using Sam Bacile as an alias, obtained a permit from the Los Angeles film authority by using the name of Media for Christ “without my knowledge or permission.”

Nassralla acknowledged that Media for Christ and its broadcasting arm The Way TV are dedicated to exposing “the brutal ideology of Sharia and terrorism,” but he added that “our work is not against Muslims.”

He did not disclose how much money, if any, Nakoula paid to use Media for Christ’s facilities, but he said he gave its employees a vacation for the period that Nakoula was on site.

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