Politics
Los Angeles police officers escorted Nakoula Basseley Nakoula from his home shortly after midnight Saturday to undergo questioning about his involvement in an anti-Islam film. (AP) Los Angeles police officers escorted Nakoula Basseley Nakoula from his home shortly after midnight Saturday to undergo questioning about his involvement in an anti-Islam film. (AP)  

Death threats, petitions swirl online after anti-Islam filmmaker’s identity is revealed

Photo of Gregg Re
Gregg Re
Associate Editor

Social media websites are flush with death threats for Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the newly unmasked 55-year-old filmmaker behind the anti-Islam film that is being blamed for nearly a week of violent unrest in the Middle East.

Nakoula was detained briefly over the weekend in California after federal officials questioned whether the production of the film violated the terms of his probation, which stemmed from a 2010 arrest for bank fraud. In response to security concerns, law enforcement kept him under heavy guard during his transport to a local police station.

“Insallah [God willing], we will kill him,” one Facebook user, Shayan Khan, wrote from Karachi, Pakistan.

Some YouTube users envisioned particularly imaginative demises for Nakoula in the comments section of a video related to his detention.

“I wanna torture him with a shot [to] his knee cap, then blow his eyes with [a] knife, take a chain saw and cut his penis, then a hot rod would be given to his ass, then kill him until he is hanged till death,” funkyfolk1110 wrote. “Kill this bastard,” said another user.

On Twitter, a user named Yayan E. Putra posted, “Fuck Nakoula Basseley, i want to kill you!!!” The message starkly contrasted with Putra’s brief Twitter profile, which stated simply, “A smile is the little thing that can make life easier.”

“Someone please kill him,” agreed Nelson Davis, a retired market researcher living in New York, who earlier on Sunday invited his Twitter followers to “Choose your free Obama sticker!”

“If extremists have a problem with Egyptian-American convicted felon/filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, kill him, not other innocent people,” reasoned another Twitter user.

Many called for censorship instead of violence. On the social petition website Change.org, nearly 5,000 users called on governments worldwide to ban the distribution of “Innocence of Muslims.” (RELATED: Islamists step up pressure for U.S. media curbs, Obama equivocates)

“I am only 10 years old yet I am disgusted by this childish behavior portraying my religion in a bad way has hurt offended me I wish for this video to be destroyed and and apology be made to the muslim ummah and our Beloved Prophet Muhammad,” wrote petitioner Maymoona Hussain, from Manchester, England.

Nakoula, 55, apparently used the alias Sam Bacile to produce a film called “Innocence of Muslims,” which is being blamed for worldwide unrest after its 14-minute trailer was uploaded to YouTube.

Nakoula was convicted of bank fraud two years ago, and the terms of his probation prohibited him from using the Internet for five years without the supervision or approval of a probation officer.

Nakoula apparently cooperated with federal investigators to gain a reduced sentence, and may have worked as an informant, according to court documents.

Authorities released Nakoula on Saturday without filing charges and claimed he was removed from his home voluntarily, but the circumstances of his detention outraged some and led conservative blogger Glenn Reynolds to call for President Barack Obama’s resignation.

“By sending — literally — brownshirted enforcers to engage in — literally — a midnight knock at the door of a man for the non-crime of embarrassing the President of the United States and his administration, President Obama violated [his] oath,” Reynolds wrote. (CAPTION THIS: A man being escorted into a police car after he criticized Islam)

Nakoula is staying in an undisclosed location due to safety concerns.

Others involved with Nakoula’s film have received death threats in recent days as well. Script adviser Steven Klein, who now answers his door with a pistol in hand, told a local newspaper that he was “really tired” of the efforts to intimidate him. The FBI recommended he move out of his home.

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