Israel’s Salafi foot soldiers and anti-Islam film

By Nureddin Sabir
Editor, Redress Information & Analysis

Nureddin Sabir argues that Israel must bear responsibility for creating the climate that gave rise to the anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims”. But it is Israel’s Salafi and Wahhabi foot soldiers behind the violent protests across the Arab and Muslim worlds who may eventually bring Arabs and Muslims down on their knees.

Contrary to our article of 13 September (“Israeli film-maker, Jewish donors and the Salafis“), it would seem that the maker of the notorious film “Innocence of Muslims” is not an Israeli Jew after all. Our article was based on the information available at the time, especially an interview conducted by the Associated Press news agency with the alleged film-maker who identified himself as “Sam Bacile” and claimed that he was an Israeli Jew and that the film had been funded by “100 Jewish donors”.

It now appears that the film was made by an unsavoury crew consisting of a fraudster, a pornographer, a Christian fundamentalist and a raving hatemonger.

Colourful bigots

First, the enigmatic “Sam Bacile” appears to be none other than Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, an Egyptian-American Coptic Christian fraudster and ex-convict who in the past had used numerous aliases, including Nicola Bacily, Robert Bacily, Erwin Salameh and about a dozen other names. (See “Who is Nakoula Basseley Nakoula?“.)

…the Israeli government and its lobbies bear a major responsibility for creating a climate of anti-Muslim bigotry, the sort of climate that makes it possible for the likes of Nakoura and his gang to feel that they could incite hatred with impunity.

His accomplices were no less colourful. Alan Roberts, a pornographer whose real name is probably Robert Brownwell, is the alleged director of the film. Among Roberts’/Bromwell’s previous works are titles such as “Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood”.

Another accomplice is Joseph Nasrallah Abdelmasih, President of Media for Christ, a Christian “charity” whose warehouse offices served as the location of the filming. According to Eric Moers, who was chief electrician for the production, most of “Innocence of Muslims” was shot in about two weeks inside a squat warehouse that serves as the offices of Media for Christ.

The fourth character is Steve Klein, a Californian insurance salesman and Vietnam War veteran who has spent years protesting at mosques. He acted as the film’s promoter. According to AP,

Klein has a long history of anti-Muslim activities. He founded Courageous Christians United, which conducts protests outside abortion clinics, Mormon temples and mosques. He also started Concerned Citizens for the First Amendment, which preaches against Muslims and publishes volumes of anti-Muslim propaganda that Klein distributes. The Southern Poverty Law Centre says they have been tracking Klein for several years and have labelled two of the organizations he is affiliated with as hate groups.

So, no Jews and no Israelis involved, well, at least not directly. But Israel and its US flag-wavers must carry at least some of the blame. This is because the Israeli government and its lobbies bear a major responsibility for creating a climate of anti-Muslim bigotry, the sort of climate that makes it possible for the likes of Nakoura and his gang to feel that they could incite hatred with impunity. Therefore, together with its network of Jewish activists, Christian Zionists, racists and ultra-right-wingers in the US political and media establishments, Israel has many questions to answer. In particular, how can it and its Jewish supporters reconcile their general backing of activities which if targeted at Jews would have triggered almighty cries of anti-Semitism?

The charlatans

However, none of this should detract from the wholly destructive role being played by a minority made up of Salafis and Wahhabis in the Arab and Muslim worlds. More than Israel and its bigoted Christian fundamentalist allies, it is the Salafis and Wahhabis who are corrupting religion, obstructing social and economic progress in the Arab and Muslim worlds and besmirching the image of Arabs and Muslims, perhaps irredeemably.

More than Israel and its bigoted Christian fundamentalist allies, it is the Salafis and Wahhabis who are corrupting religion, obstructing social and economic progress in the Arab and Muslim worlds and besmirching the image of Arabs and Muslims, perhaps irredeemably.

Whatever the intention was behind the anti-Muhammad film, the fact is that, had it not been for the mindless, reflexive violence of Salafi-orchestrated protests in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Sudan, Yemen and elsewhere in the Arab and Muslim worlds, neither the sleazy film-makers nor their Christian Zionist and Israel lobby bedfellows would have managed to turn the tables on Arabs and Muslims by provoking them into portraying themselves as primitives and ignoramuses who can express themselves only by rampaging, burning and killing.

We have always been firmly convinced that Israel’s dysfunctional behaviour and internal contradictions bear the seeds of its own destruction as a supremacist, racially-exclusive state. However, the increasingly high profile assumed by Salafis and Wahhabis in Arab societies since they began hijacking the Arab Spring has forced us to acknowledge the possibility that the real implosion might be that of Arab societies, and that this may yet offer new opportunities for the Jews-only state to extend its lease of life. The jailing in Gaza on 17 September of four Palestinian Salafis convicted of last year’s kidnapping and murdering of Vittorio Arrigoni, a long-time member of the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement, brings into sharp relief the ruinous role played by the Salafis and Wahhabis objectively on behalf of Israel.

The stark conclusion that we Arabs must draw from this is that, unless we lance the tumour of Salafism and Wahhabism from our midst, these backward, misogynist fifth columnists will eradicate the hopes and aspirations of millions of Arab for generations to come and bury any prospect of liberation for the Palestinian people.

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