Arrested for Blasphemy in America?

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, aka Sam Bacile, was recently arrested for violations of his probation terms from a 2010 conviction for bank fraud.  But many in both the legal and political world believe that the real crime for which he was jailed was blaspheming Islam.

Nakoula is an Egyptian-born US citizen with a history of drug and financial crimes.  In 2010 he was sentenced to 21 months in jail and 5 years probation for bank fraud.  The terms of his probation were that he was not allowed to use any alias names or use the Internet without prior approval from his probation officers.

Merely weeks after his release from jail in June 2011, Nakoula posted a film trailer on YouTube.  It was a 14-minute video clip promoting the film “Innocence of Muslims.”  The video was totally un-noteworthy and of unprofessional quality.  Left in English, it might have gone unnoticed.

Yet, a few months later, the film was translated into Arabic and went viral over the Internet.  It inflamed Muslims worldwide, and sparked protests and riots for its content depicting the Muslim Prophet Mohammad as a child molester, womanizer, and religious fraud.

At first, Nakoula acknowledged that he wrote the script for “Innocence of Muslims,” but denied his role in creating the film.  After all, the credits listed a “Sam Bacile” as the producer.

But upon investigation, federal authorities identified Nakoula as the culprit.  Nakoula confessed to producing the film and admitted that “Sam Bacile” was merely an alias.  Originally, “Sam Bacile” had called reporters claiming that he was an Israeli Jew who had raised 5 million dollars from wealthy Jewish donors to produce the film.  However, in the end it became clear the mere $50,000 to $60,000 film budget was a gift from his wife’s family, who is based in Egypt, where the riots began.

The riots spread to at least 20 countries worldwide and fanned the flames of pre-existing anti-American sentiment, causing numerous deaths.

Ever bowing down to Islam, President Obama chose to blame the video clip for “spontaneous uprisings” in Libya, which resulted in the murder of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other US diplomatic officials.

The administration held this story line for days.  However, it became evident that the attack on the US consulate which occurred on the symbolic date of September 11, was a pre-planned terrorist attack executed by Al-Qaeda or its affiliates.

Nevertheless, Obama can’t seem to let the film go, even referring to it in his address to the United Nations, castigating it as “disgusting.”  And, while he gave lip service to the virtues of free speech, he simultaneously raised Islam up as untouchable, asserting that “the future does not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam.”  It seems like a bizarre statement coming from a United States president, until one remembers Obama’s Cairo speech in which he claimed that it’s his job as president of the United States to “fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.”

To make matters worse, this President requested that Google (YouTube’s parent company) remove the video from YouTube.  To its credit, Google refused, explaining that free speech is legal in America and that Nakoula had not violated YouTube’s terms and conditions.

Subsequent to all the attention paid to Nakoula and his video, Nakoula received death threats from enraged Muslims who called for his arrest and execution.  Pakistani Federal Railways Minister, Ghulan Ahmad Bilour, put a 100,000 dollar bounty on Nakoula’s head, offering this reward to anyone who would find and murder the notorious blasphemer.  The Minister invited both the Taliban and Al-Qaeda to join him on his “blessed mission.”

Thereafter, Nakoula and his family were forced into hiding and Nakoula placed his California home up for sale.

On September 27, a mere two days after Obama’s speech to the United Nations, Nakoula was arrested for violating his probation terms.

Flanked by at least five law enforcement officials on all sides, Nakoula was pushed into a car and carted off to court.

Assistant US Attorney, Robert Dugdale, charged Nakoula with 8 counts of violating the terms of his probation.  The charges all related to using an alias name and lying to officials about his role in making the anti-Islam film.  The US Attorney’s office refrained from charging Nakoula with unauthorized use of the Internet.

Nakoula was escorted into court with handcuffs and shackled at the waist.  His attorney denied the charges and pleaded for his client to be released on 10,000 dollars bond.

The court, however, was unsympathetic.  The judge ruled that Nakoula would be held in jail without bond, reasoning that Nakoula was both a flight risk and a danger to the community.  The latter is a little perplexing for someone who has never committed a violent crime.  Nevertheless, Nakoula now sits in jail awaiting the scheduling of his probation revocation hearing, where he faces the possibility of 24 additional months in prison.

It is relatively easy to find technical violations of probation.  In this case, it’s obvious that had so much attention not been shed on Nakoula’s video clip, any infractions of the terms of his probation would likely have gone unnoticed.

Legal professionals and First Amendment advocates of all political stripes are questioning the legitimacy of the charges.  Due to the highly political nature of the case, there is significant speculation that high level US officials may have weighed in on the decision to arrest Nakoula.

It is common knowledge that authoritarian regimes around the globe arrest those who are politically inconvenient or at odds with those in power.  In Muslim majority countries, even those considered secular, blaspheming the Muslim Prophet Mohammad is quite problematic.  The consequences can range from community threats and out-casting to jail, flogging and even execution.

There is no doubt that in recent years, there has been momentum building in the West for the silencing of speech which is critical of Islam.  Whether it takes the form of UN Resolutions to combat “defamation of religions” (i.e. Islam), hate speech legislation, or politically correct policy enactments, speech critical of Islam or its Messenger has become increasingly verboten in Europe and Canada.

The question now is, in the last bastion of freedom known as this great United States of America, will man continue to be free to express his ideas, even if unpopular, or will the government join the rank and file by retaliating against those whose speech it dislikes, under the pretext of probation violation technicalities?

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  • PaulRevereNow

    It wouldn't surprise me at all, if it were discovered that Nakoula was arrested on orders from the WH. This is what were getting from "The Great Uniter," a thinly disguised dictatorship.

    • USAMan

      Seems that Nakoula may well be the first political prisoner in this United States of America. Another Obama first.

    • Kufar Dawg

      It's painfully obvious that a dictatorship is exactly what DB's like shrillery and the zero want. After all, what kind of leaders commonly call for the imposition of censorship?

  • LibertyMan

    hmmm … I wonder if Salmon Rushdie wrote his book now … would he be rushed off by cops, imprisoned and have his name negatively spoke about in the UN by the President of the United States … my have times changed… the Age of the Sociopath continues

  • Metatrona

    In return for his arrest, Moslems worldwide have agreed to respect Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, and Jews. Nevermore will they destroy Buddhist symbols, Synagogues, Churches, et al. Nevermore will they kidnap, rape and marry off Christian girls to Moslem old men. Nevermore will they torture and kill any person of another faith. Ain't life grand?!!!

    • LibertyMan

      lol…. we have acheived nirvana … better then a George Foreman grill

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "In return for his arrest, Moslems worldwide have agreed to respect "

      Cutting deals with masses of rioters…not rational. I thought Obama was supposed to be a genius with an IQ of "a hundred and something" according to Chris Matthews? Can one be an irrational, unreasonable genius with an IQ of say, 102?

      • Kufar Dawg

        LOL. I haven't seen any evidence of genius in the zero yet. Maybe Matthews has bought into the zero's narcissistic napoleon complex.

  • Porky's2istan

    I read the judge's statement and it was a total joke. Her main points were that he used an alias, and that he might be a flight risk. EVERYONE knows what happens to people who criticize islam in any way. Nakoula using an alias was just common (self) defense. And if he does flee, that too would be self preservation. This judge is a complete moron,

    • LibertyMan

      true… and the fact that half of Hollywood uses aliases and has been convicted of DWIs and Income tax envaision doesn't seem to phase her judgement… selected prosecution and enforsement for political friends.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "I read the judge's statement and it was a total joke. Her main points were that he used an alias, and that he might be a flight risk."

      I'm curious if he confessed or if she just took the accusations from the media (or was it the Whitehouse?) for granted? The arrest in and of itself is not disturbing, since he was on parole, but the facts surrounding it matter a lot. Those facts point to disturbing interference and to grandstanding politicians appeasing…wait for it…the peaceful religious Muslims who happened to be too busy rioting to be appeased too quickly. They're very busy right now. Can you call back on that please when you've passed the Sharia (law) we demand?

      Still waiting for the riots to dissipate…

  • JR Montain

    What about Bill Mahr and his anti-religion hate speech? Do you think he will be arrested? Oh, I forgot, he gave Obama a million dollars and he also got to visit Obama in the White House. His hate speech must must be considered good hate speech.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "What about Bill Mahr and his anti-religion hate speech?"

      Come on now! YOU don't get to define what hate speech is! Only protected classes get that privilege. Convert, then we'll talk. Don't bother converting to anything but Islam if you want to decide the fate of free speech.

      "The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam."

    • Kufar Dawg

      Bill Maher pretends to be even-handed in his criticism of religion but it's obvious he's anything but. He's a sell out or a coward, take your pick.

  • curmudgeon

    obama castigated it as disgusting…………for once, our muslim in chief is right about something. the film is disgusting. it is disgusting just like a film of a dead rotting skunk crawling with maggots would be disgusting. the reason the film is disgusting is that it is an accurate (if technically inferior) depiction of the real evil that is islam. the film is right out of the islamic "holy" scriptures. disgusting.

  • longtail

    need to start a "free nakoula" thread, it may be decades before the true damage of what obama has done in just four years actually comes to fruition.

  • Ghostwriter

    I think Mr. Nasoula has one heck of a lawsuit on his hands.

    • trickyblain

      What specific charges would you bring for your felon, parole-violating client?

    • JakeTobias

      I believe you can not sue the government.

  • Newspaniard

    The WH must have spent considerable amount of taxpayer's money locating and then loudly naming the "culprit" so that the death cultists would have a positively identified target. Of course, with so many 7th century savages already behind bars, the chances of Nakoula actually surviving any gaol term is very slim. I had thought that politics and the legal system were separated by law, as with politics and religion, it would appear not.

    • Kufar Dawg

      I used to believe the lie that the founder of the JDL committed suicide in jail, I don't anymore.

  • mah29001

    He is like Eugene V. Debs, except instead of being a fellow Leftist like he was to Woodrow Wilson, Debs was arrested just for protesting WWI. The filmmaker in the same manner who is likely NOT a Leftist is protesting Islamic supremacists via the film "Innocence of Muslims".

    And yet, Obama is just a black faced version of Woodrow Wilson who is willing to arrest critics of Islam.

  • Jane Hamber

    Caving in to the radical demands of Islam won't win us any friends in the muslim world. They just think we are even more contemptible for not standing up for our "sacred" values.

  • amused

    You're deluded Weiss , there is no charge on any State's books for blaspemy . had this man not been on parole there wouldn't have been an arrest . He brought the spotligh on himself by indirectly causing death and destruction of American assets . He violated the rules of his parole , which was not blasphemy .

    • JakeTobias

      Is the Danish cartoonist, Kurt Westergaard, guilty of indirectly causing death and destruction, by drawing some lame cartoons of Muhammad? Should he be arrested? Or are you going to say it's not the same thing? How about film director Theo van Gogh? He was shot eight times, and stabbed by two different knives, after his Muslim assassin abandoned his attempt to decapitate him, for telling the truth about how Islam treats women.

  • Brenda

    This man intention's were to cause HATE!

  • dave Grogan

    Amused says "He brought the spotligh (sic) on himself by indirectly causing death and destruction of American assets". This would imply that for the slightest reason someone upset thereby can create mayhem and I am to blame. I publish "Scots are pooh" and a gang of Highlanders explodes a nuclear device in London! Guess what? Its my fault…indirectly. Sheeesh,!

    Dave G

  • John Laurence

    Deb the CIA did not know what caused the demostrations until for some days after
    And even if they did why would they want to disclose their info to our enemies. 2 weeks after those murders the head of the militia that did the killings was himself killed. Perhaps you think Obama should have told everyone his name and warned him?