The Egyptian-born Coptic Christian who made the anti-Islam film that sparked protests across the Muslim world has no regrets about his insulting portrayal of the Muslim prophet, according to an interview with the New York Times.
In his first public comments since the 14-minute trailer for his film, “Innocence of Muslims,” gained notoriety in September, Mark Basseley Youssef told the newspaper he wanted to reveal what he called “the actual truth” about the prophet and raise awareness of the violence committed “under the sign of Allah.”
The film touched off a torrent of anti-American unrest in Arab and Muslim countries. For many Muslims, any depiction of the prophet is considered blasphemous.
In explaining his reasons for the film, he cited “atrocities” by Muslims. After a Muslim gunman killed 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas in 2009, “I became even more upset and enraged,” he said in written comments conveyed to the Times through his attorney. A Times request to interview him in person was blocked by prison authorities.
“I thought, before I wrote this script that I should burn myself in a public square to let the American people and the people of the world know this message that I believe in,” said Youssef.
Youssef, a former gasoline station owner identified in some public records by his birth name, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, received a one-year prison sentence in early November for violating terms of his 2011 supervised release from prison on a bank fraud conviction. In the course of making the film, he made use of false identities and lied to his probation officer, both of which were prohibited under his probation.
Read more from Reuters here.