Protests in the Middle East that are being blamed on an anti-Islamic and anti-Muhammad film continue to rage. And as details unfold about the shadowy figures behind the film, the plot thickens. This morning, TheBlaze provided more details about Steve Klein, a man who served as a spokesman for the film. And last night, we learned more about Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the filmmaker involved who has a criminal past.
Now, information is coming out about the man who is said to have intentionally translated and sent the video to Egyptian media, thus allegedly sparking a portion of the outrage. Since the initial violent reaction to the video emerged on September 11, many have wondered how the film came to the attention of Middle Eastern media and citizens, alike.
Religion News Service (RNS) is reporting that Morris Sadek, an Egyptian-born Coptic Christian, translated the movie into Arabic and sent it to Egyptian journalists. He also allegedly promoted it on his web site and through social media, the outlet reports. RNS has more about his background:
Morris Sadek describes himself as a human rights attorney and president of a small group called the National American Coptic Assembly, based in Chantilly, Va. Sadek says on his website that he is a member of the Egyptian and District of Columbia bar associations who has “defended major human rights cases” including the late Coptic Pope Shenouda III, who died in March.
But fellow Copts depict Sadek as a fringe figure and publicity hound whose Islamophobic invectives disrupt Copts’ quest for equal rights in Egypt.
Cynthia Farahat, the director of advocacy for a group called Coptic Solidarity, made the claim that Sadek "has done a lot of harmful things for Copts in Egypt." Also, in a statement, the group said that the controversial figure has used "inflammatory and abrasive language to insult Muslims and Islam." The group also dubbed him as belonging to an extreme group of Copts.
“Every single thing he says is used by Islamists to justify terrorism against Copts,” Farahat continued.
Michael Meunier, president of U.S. Copts Association, claims that, by taking these actions, Sadek was likely looking for fame in Egyptian media. Considering that he lost his Egyptian citizenship and was banned from the country back in 2011, it makes sense that he would potentially be looking to raise his profile in the region.
Here's a video that purportedly shows him screaming "Islam is evil!" outside of the National Press Building in Washington, D.C.:
“I really think Morris just wanted to get famous in the Egyptian media,” Meunier explained, going on to say that Sadek "wanted to steal the work of someone else to gain fame in the media and the result is now clear."
The Journal provides more about the way in which the film made its way from America to Egypt, citing Sadek as the key connection to making it happen:
The spark that elevated the video from the Internet's backwater appears to have been provided by Morris Sadek, an Egyptian-American Coptic activist living in the Washington, D.C., area. Mr. Sadek has been an outspoken anti-Islamic activist in the U.S., where he runs a small group called the National American Coptic Assembly.
On Sept. 6, Mr. Sadek sent an email to journalists around the world promoting a Sept. 11 event held by Rev. Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who previously sparked deadly protests by burning a copy of the Quran. In the email, Mr. Sadek included a link to the 14-minute YouTube clip.
On Sept. 6, Sadek emailed journalists around the world, promoting Jones’ anti-Islamic event and including footage of “Innocence of Muslims,” according to The Wall Street Journal. A conservative TV host in Egypt broadcast the video on Sept. 8, sparking protests at the U.S. embassy in Cairo.
While RNS claims that Sadek may have translated the clip himself, the Journal reports that it may have been Egyptian journalists, themselves, who translated it. Originally, reports claimed that Sadek merely promoted the film, but now it seems he played a more integrated role in bringing it to the attention of media.
When Reuters reached him to ask if he was sorry that the promotion of the film led to death and violence, he answered affirmatively.
"Of course, of course, of course. Thought should be answered by thought," he said, claiming that he didn't realize just how offensive the film was to Islam. "I am only (leading) a Coptic organization that promoted the film. I am only interested in the first part about persecution of Copts."
As TheBlaze has extensively reported before, Copts have faced a plethora of discrimination in the religion. Many fear that the film and its promotion will, in addition to the violence we've already seen, add a layer of trouble and tribulation for Egyptian Copts and other Christians in the region.