After protests began against the Islamophobic film, The Innocence of Muslims, on September 11, 2012, a man who identified himself as an Israeli Jew named “Sam Bacile” called the Associated Press and the Wall Street Journal claiming to have produced the movie and funded it with $5 million he collected from “100 Jewish friends”.
He is in fact an Egyptian-born U.S. resident named Nakoula Basseley, is not Jewish (he’s a Coptic Christian), and has been in and out of prison since the 90s.
Sounds like the beginnings of a notoriously successful troll if you ask me.
In 1997 Nakoula was charged with intent to produce methamphetamine. He’d also opened bank accounts using fake names and stolen Social Security numbers, including one belonging to a six year old boy. He was sentenced to 21 months in prison with a five-year probation period, and further ordered to pay almost $800,000 in restitution. After that particular conviction, he was barred from using computers or the Internet for five years without approval from his probation officer.
Nakoula began working on his magnum opus weeks after his release in 2011. Innocence of Muslims was designed to attract the lost yet ever zealous moths to his own blinding light of lunacy, and ironic though it is, Nakoula is the single most dangerous and tactful troll that the internet has disgraced our species with since Invisible Children.
When one sees the image of a small boy in Sydney’s CBD holding up a sign that says ‘BEHEAD ALL THOSE WHO INSULT THE PROPHET’, it’s important to remember that this tiny, crazy section of the Australian Islamic population was deliberately provoked by an equally tiny and crazy entity. Nakoula baited the loony end of organised religious lunacy with a very mundane and transparent hook, a depiction of their prophet, into reacting in a way that proves his extremely flawed world vision. The perfect irony.
Protestors clash with police all the time in this country: Occupy protesters in Sydney and Melbourne clashed with police earlier this year, and even more recently union protests in Melbourne resulted in police violence. It seems a bit unfair that the entire Islamic community be held responsible and asked to apologise for the actions of a few extremists.
Just because Australian Baptists share the same religion as Baptists in the USA, we don’t guilt trip ours into apologizing for certain Baptist churches who picket roadsides with signs that read “GOD HATES FAGS”, “FAGS DIE GOD LAUGHS”, and “THANK GOD FOR SEPT 11”. These signs go up on a weekly basis, often held by children, but I guess it’s a little less important to the mainstream media when the culprits are white.
Did the Prime Minister, Opposition Leader, Foreign Minister, and NSW Premier weigh in on these other protests in media releases and in question time? Would the matter have been raised in Federal Parliament if the media and our politicians regarded these kinds of instances with the basic level of perspective in which they deserve? They are some of the highest-ranking victims of this ultimately fear-mongering troll.
Bob Carr was right when he said, “They seek to blame the US… for a lousy propaganda film, the work of a lone nutter… Frankly, if you believe in beheading, you’ll probably never be happy living in Australia.” What he was not right in doing was to entrench the us versus them mentality. The use of the word “they” to address the Islamic community, and Gillard’s labeling of the protestors as “un-Australian”, are not helpful. Smells like Cronulla all over again…
As amusing as a good ol’ fashioned successful troll may be, this one resulted in violence and bloodshed. Socio-political commentators like Pat Condell have had a field day, playing into the troll’s intolerant hands with rambling YouTube diatribes addressing Muslims on behalf of the world’s bigot population with comments such as“Once again we see Islam self-detonate… and show once again why it’s about as welcome on this planet as an asteroid.”
White-people behind computer monitors make excuses for the violence at one end of the spectrum, blaming the eruption of violence in Sydney as a reaction to Australian military intervention in parts of the world we cant pronounce. At the other end, the likes of Pat Condell would contest that Islam is incompatible with Western “civilised” society, and that violence is an inevitable byproduct of multiculturalism.
To those of you who point at images of September 11 and say “look, they’re at it again!”, you’re missing the point. To lefty loony-sympathisers who say this is a reaction to our alliance with the US imperialist pigs, you too are missing the point.
While some members of the media and certain politicians call for government censorship of the media in order to targets trolls who are mean to sportsmen on twitter, they seem to have missed the troll that claimed the lives of almost 80 people worldwide. One lone nutter did this, not Islam.
One lone nutter trolled both sides of the global Islamophobia-concerned dialogue into hating each other just a little bit more.