A man who claims to be the producer of an anti-Islam film
that has sparked protests across the Arab world and in several Muslim-majority countries says he has no regrets about making the film.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a 55-year-old Egyptian Copt living in California, told an American Arabic-language radio station, Radio Sawa, that he was “saddened” and felt “guilty” over the violence, which resulted in the deaths of Chris Stevens, the US ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans in an attack on the US embassy in Benghazi, but felt no remorse.
“No, I do not regret the film,” Nakoula added. “I am saddened by the killing of the ambassador but I do not regret making it.
“I am the one who leaked the 14 minutes and put it on the internet and I am thinking about releasing the full film (entitled ‘Innocence of Muslims’). Nobody manipulated my film.”
Asked if he felt guilty that the violence is being directed against US citizens, Nakoula said: “Yes, I feel guilty. America has nothing to do with this subject and is suffering the consequences of a film that has nothing to do with it.”
He continued: “I had published a book in 1994 (on Islam) and it impressed certain parties who asked me if I could turn this book into a movie and this is what I did.
“I have a message for the whole world and not for Muslims. I hope that you watch the movie in full before you judge it.”
He described himself as “an Arab thinker interested in Islamic affairs.”
New details regarding the filmmaker, whose identity has been shrouded in mystery, emerged overnight Friday. ABC News' website said that the film was written, produced and directed by a convicted drug manufacturer and scam artist who has told authorities he actually wrote the script in federal prison.
According to the report, authorities identified Nakoula,
an Egyptian Copt who resides in Cerritos, California, as the filmmaker, and said that he admitted his role in the movie after seeking help from law enforcement in dealing with death threats he has received since the release of the film.
Authorities told ABC News that Nakoula told them he and his son, Abanob Basseley, 21, were responsible for producing the movie which, he reportedly said, cost between $50,000 and $60,000 and was shot in a little over 12 days.
Authorities say he claimed the money for the movie came from his wife's family in Egypt.
Using the false name Sam Bacile, Nakoula had told reporters earlier this week that he was an "Israeli Jew," that the film had cost about $5,000,000, and that the money had come from wealthy Jewish friends.
Now he is "scared to death," authorities told ABC News, and fearful that harm could come to his wife and other family members.
On Thursday, it was reported that the film's cast and crew claimed they had been misled by the director.