The man who made the anti-Muslim film that enraged parts of the Islamic world has gone into hiding.
California-based writer and director Sam Bacile remained defiant, saying Islam was a cancer and he intended his film to be a provocative political statement condemning the religion.
“This is a political movie,” said 56-year-old Mr Bacile. “The US lost a lot of money and a lot of people in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but we’re fighting with ideas.”
Mr Bacile, a property developer who says he is an Israeli Jew, said he believes the movie will help his native land by exposing Islam’s flaws to the world.
“Islam is a cancer, period,” he said repeatedly.
Israel said it had not heard of Mr Bacile and there was no record of him being a citizen.
The two-hour movie, “Innocence of Muslims,” cost 5 million dollars to make and was financed with the help of more than 100 Jewish donors, said Mr Bacile.
The film claims Mohammed was a fraud. The 14-minute trailer of the movie that reportedly set off the protests, posted on the website YouTube in an original English version and another dubbed into Egyptian Arabic, shows an amateur cast performing a wooden dialogue of insults disguised as revelations about Mohammed, whose obedient followers are presented as a cadre of goons.
It depicts Mohammed as a feckless philanderer who approved of child sexual abuse, among other overtly insulting claims that have caused outrage.
Muslims find it offensive to depict Mohammed in any manner, let alone insult him. A Danish newspaper’s 2005 publication of 12 caricatures of the prophet triggered riots in many Muslim countries.
Although Mr Bacile was apologetic about the Americans killed as a result of the outrage over his film, he blamed lax embassy security and the perpetrators of the violence.
“I feel the security system (at the embassies) is no good,” he said. “America should do something to change it.”
A consultant on the film, Steve Klein, said the filmmaker is concerned for family members who live in Egypt.
Mr Klein said he agreed to help Bacile make the movie but warned him that “you’re going to be the next Theo van Gogh.” Van Gogh was a Dutch filmmaker killed by a Muslim extremist in 2004 after making a film that was perceived as insulting to Islam.
“We went into this knowing this was probably going to happen,” Mr Klein said.
The film was made in three months in the summer of 2011, with 59 actors and about 45 people behind the camera.
The full film has been shown once, to a mostly empty cinema in Hollywood earlier this year, said Mr Bacile.