• Controversial Anti-Muslim Filmmaker Forced to Leave Home


    LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The Cerritos-based filmmaker allegedly behind an anti-Muslim film that sparked deadly riots in Libya and set off a wave of violent anti-American protests across the Middle East was escorted from his home early this morning by deputies who took him to a sheriff’s station for questioning by his probation officer.

    Federal probation officials in Los Angeles are investigating whether Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, who has been identified as one of the makers of the film “Innocence of Muslims,” violated his probation stemming from a bank fraud conviction, authorities said Friday.

    Nakoula, wearing a hat and scarf over his face, was escorted from his house shortly after midnight this morning and transported to the Cerritos Station for questioning by his probation officer, confirmed Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Don Walker.

    “He went to the Cerritos Station voluntarily to speak with his probation officer,” Walker said. “He wasn’t arrested. They basically just provided transportation to the station.”

    Nakoula, a number of media outlets have reported, allegedly used several aliases during his movie-making, including “Sam Bassiel, Sam Bassil” and “Sam Bacile.” ABC News reported he is not Israeli or Jewish, but rather an Arab Christian, according to several radical Christian groups who claimed they were involved with the production or eventual distribution of the movie.

    Nakoula pleaded no contest in 2010 to charges in Los Angeles federal court, papers show.

    He was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Christine A. Snyder to 21 months in federal prison and ordered not to use computers or the Internet for five years without prior authorization. He was also ordered to pay about $790,000 in restitution. According to the federal Bureau of Prisons, Nakoula was released from their custody on June 22, 2011.

    Karen Redmond, a spokeswoman for the administrative office of the U.S. Courts in Washington, D.C., said the federal probation department in Los Angeles is “reviewing” Nakoula’s activities to determine if he violated the terms of his probation. If so, he could be sent back to prison.

    Nakoula was accused of opening bank and credit card accounts using phony Social Security numbers.

    The 13-minute “Innocence of Muslims” video, which was posted on YouTube, portrays the Muslim Prophet Muhammad engaged in apparently crude behavior. Such depictions of the prophet are considered blasphemous by many Muslims.

    Protests apparently ignited by the video played a role in mob violence in Libya in which U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, including two former Navy SEALS from San Diego County, were killed on the anniversary of 9/11.

    The White House said there was no actionable intelligence before the Libya attack, and no evidence the assault was planned in advance.

    Unrest spread Friday into Nigeria, Sudan and Tunisia. Riots have also occurred in Egypt and Yemen.

    The former SEALS were mourned by President Barack Obama Friday for laying down their lives while protecting their friends.

    Glen Doherty, 42, of Encinitas, and Tyrone Woods, 41, of Imperial Beach, were killed Tuesday along with Stevens and Sean Smith, an information technology specialist, when an armed force attacked the consulate compound in Benghazi.

    At a ceremony where their remains were returned to U.S. soil at Joint Base Andrews — the former Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, D.C. — Obama and U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton praised the men in front of their families and federal personnel.

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