How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

'There is lot of work needed to be done': American Muslims on 'Innocence of Muslims' and the film's violent aftermath

As the story surrounding an inflammatory anti-Muslim film shot in Southern California developed over the last week, KPCC's Public Insight Journalism team put together some questions for the public on what has become a volatile subject. The film, titled "Innocence of Muslims," mocks Muslims and the prophet Muhammad and has been blamed for sparking deadly violence in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, as news got out last week that the alleged filmmaker was an Egyptian American Coptic Christian from Cerritos, Calif. with a criminal record in the United States, the Coptic community was quick to distance itself from him, also fearing targeting. In recent days, Muslim and Coptic groups in Southern California have come together to denounce both the film and the violence.

We took our questions to Muslims living in Southern California and throughout the United States, who have found themselves not only feeling targeted, but also uncomfortable watching the violent reaction overseas. Several responses have come in so far. Here are two, slightly edited for clarity.


Coptic Christians condemn anti-Muslim film, distance themselves from alleged filmmaker

sinahi tenurche/YouTube

A screenshot from a trailer for controversial anti-Islam film, "Innocence of Muslims."

Coptic Christians in Southern California are distancing themselves from the alleged director of an anti-Muslim film that some observers say has sparked deadly violence in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East. The victims include U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in the Libyan city of Benghazi.

This morning, the Associated Press reported that U.S. authorities had named 55-year-old Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a Coptic Christian based in Southern California, as the director of a film titled "Innocence of Muslims," which mocks Muslims and the prophet Muhammad. In the report, Nakoula has denied directing the film. He says he only assisted with film logistics. Nakoula identified the filmmaker as Sam Bacile, although cell phone records trace back to Nakoula.