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Nakoula: With Friends Like These, You Make Enemies

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It's no coincidence that the man once known as Sam Bacile not only described himself as a Jew, but as an Israeli Jew.

It has been reported that he is neither, nor is that his real name. The man who "wrote" and "directed" and duped Craigslist actors to act in his movie Innocence of Muslims -- the same movie which has led to the deaths of four U.S. diplomats, up to 10 Libyans who sought to protect them, four Yemenis in a "clash" outside the U.S. embassy, and one Lebanese in Tripoli -- in is fact Nakoula Bassley Nakoula, an Egyptian Coptic Christian living, or rather, hiding, in California.

Why would a Christian attacking Islam seek to lay the blame not only on Judaism, but on Israel? Had Nakoula merely described himself as a Jew, this would have been a purely religious affair. But he specified in his phone interview that he was an Israeli Jew, and that in itself introduces political motivations to religious ones.

One could cite any number of reasons why a Christian would wish to give Muslim extremists yet another reason to hate Judaism or Israel -- they blamed America for the film, so why wouldn't they blame Israel as well since it was one of their own who made it?

But what may help one better understand this artiste who fancies himself a Rushdie is to look at the company he keeps, namely, Pastor Terry Jones and Steven Klein.

Pastor Terry Jones -- a man who looks better suited for the Hell's Angels than for worship -- is known for his autodafes of the Koran, and for his hanging of an effigy of the President of the United States (no doubt, a Muslim). Oh, and he was also invited to speak at a rally for the English Defence League -- an Islamophobic fascist organization which even Haaretz suggests Jews abroad stay away from -- but was banned from entering the U.K. -- a sort of reverse Galloway, if you will. Jones promoted and showed the film on September 11 of this year.

And then there is the also-mustachioed Steven Klein, a self-described failed real-estate developer who now operates as an insurance salesman and who drinks beer while conducting interviews (one can already imagine him swaying in his rocking chair, caressing his shotgun, Bible open on his lap). He heads two organizations, both of which have been labelled as hate groups: Courageous Christians United, and Concerned Citizens for the First Amendment. These organizations have had their hand in staging protests outside abortion clinics and publish anti-Muslim propaganda.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention: he also trains paramilitary militias...in a church near Fresno. He and his crusaders are preparing for what they believe to be the inevitable holy war between Christians and the ever-present Muslim sleeper cells who seek to somehow overtake the most powerful nation in the world and impose Sharia Law. In true good ol' Christian form, he calls his critics -- critics of hatred, ignorance, and prejudice -- "wife-beaters and pedophiles." Must I point out the irony? He is also endowed with the sixth sense of being able to spot future suicide bombers in mosques; there are 500 to 750 of them in mosques in California. Klein was a sort of legal counsel Nakoula approached regarding the legality of the film, and is currently acting as a spokesperson for this year's most dangerous work of trash.

So here it is: the trifecta of the Innocence of Muslims, a group that is off their rockers. When asked how he felt about the deaths of U.S. Ambassador Stevens and company, Nakoula merely blamed lax security measures at the embassy. Klein says he is absolved of all guilt of the chain of events he helped ignite, claiming that these extremists are "pre-incited, they're pre-programmed to do this."

We can assume that Klein means to say these extremists have been brainwashed by religious fanaticism -- as they undoubtedly have -- but for Klein to say so would force him to consider exactly where he stands on the spectrum of religious beliefs.

No one would want to jump the gun a la Romney, but the fact of the matter is that considering the company Nakoula engages with in the proliferation of his politics, beliefs, or what have you, one must ask himself the question if the filmmaker's willingness to hurt other religions stop at Islam. Pretending to be a Jew from Israel is no accident, and certainly isn't without its consequence, and one must ask why Nakoula would incite such dangerous ones.

But at the very least, what these Christian cowards have shown us is that if there is a threat of religious extremism that will hurt America -- if it hasn't already -- it's not going to come only from the mosque across the street.