Joseph Nassralla: Nakoula Used “Media for Christ” Name “Without Knowledge or Permission”

Joseph Nassralla has issued a statement (published by Pamela Geller) about his lack of involvement in the making of Innocence of Muslims.

[Nakoula] told me that he was making a film about Christian persecution, and that it would examine the culture of the desert and how it is related to what is going on right now. The name of Nakoula’s film, he told me, was Desert Warrior.

…Nakoula needed a place to film. So I let him use my facility – that is all I did, and is the full extent of my involvement with this project. Nakoula used my facility for ten days. Media for Christ employees were given a vacation during that time, because Nakoula was using the facility and so there was no work for them. There was only one Media for Christ employee who remained, to answer phones for the ministry.

I later discovered that Nakoula, using the name Sam Bacile, had gone to LA Films as producer of Desert Warrior, and used the name of my organization, Media for Christ, to obtain the permit he needed. He did so without my knowledge or permission.

Nakoula filmed his movie not only at my ministry location, but in Nakoula’s own home (which reporters located by getting the address from the actors), and in another facility for outside scenes that was included in the permit, Blue Canyon. I gave him no further assistance with the project.

…The work of my ministry and my television station is to expose the brutal ideology of sharia and terrorism. Our work is not against Muslims. I urge you to check out our work, we never insult anyone. 

Nassralla’s statement does not mention Steve Klein, who was a “consultant” on the film; Nassralla and Klein previously co-organised a protest against LA County Sheriff Lee Baca, and Klein has a programme on Nasralla’s The Way TV station.

Nakoula also complains about “a campaign of disinformation”, although its not clear whether by this he means Nakoula’s behaviour (it should be remembered that Nakoula, as Bacile, had claimed to be an Israeli, and that “100 Jews” had financed the film) or general media reports. Geller also adds some commentary confirming that Nakoula’s film has no connection with a film planned by Ali Sina of Faith Freedom International; a link had been suggested in a post made to the Daily Kos a couple of days ago.

As has been widely reported, Nakoula recently served time in prison for bank fraud, and by using the internet he may have violated his probation conditions. A couple of days ago he attended a voluntary interview with federal probation officers, provoking hysterical commentary claiming that he had been arrested at the behest of Obama. Robert Spencer’s post on the subject is headlined “Sharia in the U.S.: Blasphemy police pick up Muhammad filmmaker”, and he dismisses – without explaining why – the notion that Nakoula’s probation violation ought to have consequences:

If Nakoula Basseley Nakoula gets sent back to jail, no matter what priors he has, no matter how checkered his past, make no mistake: he will be a political prisoner. He will be in prison not for the meth or the fraud or for the technicality of the probation violation, but for insulting Muhammad. His imprisonment will be a symbol of America’s capitulation to the Sharia.

Incidentally, as far as I can see, neither Spencer nor Geller have felt the need to pass comment on Nakoula’s attempt to promote a conspiracy theory about Jewish financing of the project, or on his dishonest dealing with Nassralla and with those who worked on the film.