Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was the only person to end up in jail after the attack by Islamic jihadists in Benghazi one year ago that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
After President Obama and his top aides blamed the attack on Nakoula’s “Innocence of Muslims” movie trailer posted on Youtube, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promised the filmmaker would be arrested and prosecuted.
But on his last full day in custody – not for anything to do with Benghazi but for parole violations in a fraud case – Nakoula told WND he made the movie and wrote his new book, “Innocence,” to warn America about the threat of Islamic jihad.
“We don’t need Sept. 11 again. We don’t need Nidal Hasan again,” he told WND, referring to the Muslim Army officer who killed 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas.
The Egyptian-born Coptic Christian said Americans also need to be more aware of Islamic persecution of Christians in Egypt.
He dedicates his book — described on the cover as “the original script and storyboards for ‘Innocence of Muslims’”– to Stevens and the three other Americans who died in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack, Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty and Sean Smith.
His video, a trailer for a movie he says is finished and locked away in a bank vault, garnered global attention when Obama blamed it for upsetting Muslims in Benghazi, who then attacked the Americans.
But evidence shows the White House knew immediately that the Benghazi incident was an organized terror strike, not a random act of violence by an out-of-control mob of Muslims as top Obama officials claimed even weeks after the fact.
When interviewed by WND, Nakoula was preparing to be discharged from custody in Texas. He recently has been living in a type of halfway house to serve the term for the probation violation.
The Associated Press reported the man behind the video had violated a probation order and acquired a driver’s license under a false name. The prison time came on the order of U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder.
Nakoula told WND his project is political but not religious.
“I like to warn this country about terror. My movie is a political movie, not a religion movie,” he said. “The U.S. gives me a lot. I live in this country. We’re living in this country.”
He said he didn’t intend for his work to hurt anyone.
“I want to apologize for any inconvenience or misunderstanding about my movie,” he told WND.
And he said he appreciates Muslims and has Muslim friends, and he believes not all Muslims are for terror.
“It made be very upset when I heard about Nidal Hasan. He came from his country, and the U.S. gave him education, gave him life, a position in the Army, everything.
“It hurts my feelings that he says ‘Allahu Akbar’ and kills these people.”
But Nakoula described it as the “culture” of Islamic jihadists, who want to “go to heaven right away.”
He said when the controversy developed over the video, based on false claims by the White House, he was not paying attention and didn’t know that Clinton had promised the filmmaker would be jailed.
“I never heard it, believe it or not. I didn’t watch that much TV.”
Looking for film distributor
Nakoula said the full movie was “put in my bank.”
“When the right time comes, I will invite the whole media to watch my movie,” he said, noting he’s now hunting for a distributor.
He said he plans after his release from custody, scheduled Thursday, to move to a location in California where a church has agreed to help him out at least temporarily with housing.
He also said he has a looming court appearance because of the conditions he will have to meet as a free man.
The Obama administration clung for weeks to the story that it was Muslims upset about the video who spontaneously rioted in Benghazi, killing Stevens and three others. U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice made the claim on five morning news shows the Sunday after the attack.
But the claim was contradicted immediately by Mohammed Magariaf, president of Libya’s National Assembly, who said the video had “nothing to do” with the attack. Evidence has mounted ever since that it was an organized attack on the U.S. by a group affiliated with al-Qaida.
In the introduction to his book, Nakoula writes of being born in Egypt and coming to America as an immigrant. He decided to write the book to remember the four Americans killed.
“And second, I want to let the world know that I am not afraid,” he wrote.
“This book is the script for my film, ‘Innocence of Muslims.’ In the days and weeks following the attack on an American consular facility in Libya by a jihadist militia, this film was incorrectly blamed for the violence and the killing. Once representatives of the U.S. government – including the president and the secretary of state – focused blame on my film, Islamic clerics the world over declared Days of Rage. In fear of the riots that followed through the Muslim world, governments, commentators and politicians worldwide both condemned and looked to prohibit the kind of free expression that is our right in America.”
He said the film “is a true story.”
“I based it on classical Islamic literature about that religion’s prophet, Mohammed – including the Quran, hadiths, and the ‘Sirat Rasul Allah,’ his first biography.”
Nakoula said the scenes in the script “are taken from stories actually told about Mohammed, found in books revered by Muslim scholars.”
“‘Innocence of Muslims’ is about how much the world will suffer if we don’t stop the culture of death and terrorism as soon as we can,” he said.
“What is this culture of death and terror? It is nothing but a set of beliefs. This believer craves the afterlife that has been cynically promised him: he wants to drink wine and embrace 72 virgins – if only he dies while fighting jihad in Allah’s cause against Islam’s enemies. They believe that a river of women, wine, milk and honey awaits them once they have accomplished the task, we know, of slaughtering innocent people.”