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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Southern California

Religious Leaders Call For Calm Over Video

Muslim and Coptic Orthodox Christian leaders met in downtown Los Angeles to discuss the recent anti-American violence which has erupted in Northern Africa.

Muslim and Coptic Orthodox Christian leaders met in downtown Los Angeles to denounce the recent anti-American violence which has erupted in Northern Africa.

The Quran
The Quran
The violence, much of which took place on September 11th, was sparked by an anti-Muslim movie trailer for the reported film "The Innocence of Muslims," which features dialogue insulting the prophet Muhammed. It is not clear whether or not a full movie exists.

"There should have been no bloodshed," said Dr Maher Hathout, a speaker for the Muslim Affairs Council of Southern California."As a matter of fact, there should have been no reaction to such an insignificant production."

Chris Stevens, the US Ambassador to Tripoli, was killed along with three other employees from the State Department on September 11th.

A heavily armed force attacked the American Consulate in Benghazi during a demonstration. Stevens is believed to have died from smoke inhalation.

A separate anti-American demonstration took place September 11th in Cairo, Egypt. The US embassy was breached, but no shots were fired.

"We are here also to condemn putting prejudice and hate in a ... production to insult certain group ... (based) on the noble concept of freedom of speech," Hathout said.

"This is hate speech and it is instigation kind of speech. Nonetheless, people talk and if we don't like what they say, we go to the teachings of our prophet."

Bishop Serapion, the spiritual leader of the Coptic Orthodox church in Los Angeles, said the church condemns the denigration of any religion.

"We strongly condemn any and all violent reaction and the loss of innocent lives," he said. "We mourn the death of the US ambassador to Libya and his staff and offer our heartfelt condolences to their families. We cannot allow the action of a few fanatical individuals to define our communities. Those individuals are responsible for their actions, which cannot be reflected on the respectable communities they claim to be members of."

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a 55-year-old Egyptian copt and American citizen, has been identified as one of the film's creators.

Just after midnight on Saturday, he was escorted from his home in Cerritos and taken to a police station for questioning by his federal probations officer.

Nakoula is on probation after being convicted of an earlier bank fraud, and was not supposed to use the internet without permission.

LA probation officials are investigating Nakoula's conduct.


Good job, Steven. Excellent interview results. Did you enjoy doing this? I remember I also was very nervous before starting interviews but then calmed down once started and often enjoyed myself. Especially when I had to put the person at ease. Amazing how many peo. are nervous!

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