Presumed anti-Muslim film director arrested in California

While the charges are currently unrelated to the film, they may establish the director's identity once and for all.


Chase Hoffberger


Published Sep 28, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 10:22 am CDT

Police in California have arrested the man believed to have directed the anti-Muslim film that has six different continents up in arms.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, was arrested Thursday for violating terms of a probation stemming from a 2011 release from prison on a bank fraud conviction. He is being held without bond.

Though the current charges do not involve the making of the film, the investigation may finally establish whether he is indeed the responsible for the “Innocence of Muslims” which has incited riots and violence around the world. Furthermore, if he is proven to be the director of the film, the terms of his probation would prohibit many otherwise-legal activities undertaken in the production and distribution of the film.

For example, one parameter of his punishment was that Nakoula was to avoid using aliases without the permission of a probation officer—though CNN’s report on his preliminary bail hearing suggests that Nakoula referred to himself as Mark Basseley Youssef during courtroom hearings. The director of “Innocence of Muslims” has called himself Sam Bacile.

The Internet was also off-limits to Nakoula, another probationary term he would have violated if he’d, say, circulated a video on YouTube.

All in all, the court has charged Nakoula with violating eight different counts of probation.

Those counts weren’t specifically disclosed, but Judge Suzanne Segal offered at the hearing on Thursday that Nakoula has “engaged in a likely pattern of deception both to his probation officers and the court.”

“Innocence of Muslims” has been the source of widespread rioting and chaos throughout the world since attracting international attention Sept. 12. The film’s trailer, a shoddy, 14-minute production that depicts the prophet Muhammad as both a philanderer and pedophile, has evoked assassinationslawsuits, and high profile arrests.

Nakoula has denied his involvement of the film, though he’s sure to face another round of questions. We’ll see if his story holds up in court.

Photo via DJ Omon/Twitter

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*First Published: Sep 28, 2012, 12:11 pm CDT