Terry Jones, the controversial Florida-based pastor best known for burning the Koran and purportedly inciting violence in the Middle East, has partnered with en ex-Muslim named Imran Firasat to produce a new film called, "The Innocent Prophet." The controversial faith leader spoke to TheBlaze about the project -- a movie that holds the potential to infuriate Islamist groups across the globe.
The film's name may sound familiar. Following radicals' attacks on U.S. interests on September 11 of this year, the trailer for a separate movie called "The Innocence of Muslims" made international headlines. The spoof, which poked fun at the Prophet Muhammad's life, sparked furor and was blamed for anti-American violence and sentiment across the Middle East and Northern Africa.
No "The Innocent Prophet," which a press release from Stand Up America -- Jones' organization -- claims is "about the life of the Prophet Muhammad," is slated for release next month. Of course, it's no coincidence that the name and purpose of the film mirrors that of "Innocence of Muslims," especially considering that Jones was a supporter of the first film.
Iranian demonstrators distribute posters showing US pastor Terry Jones as they fill Tehran's Enqelab Square to demonstrate against earlier threats by Jones to burn copies of the Muslim holy book, the Koran, after Friday prayers on September 17, 2010. Credit: AFP/Getty Images
In an interview with TheBlaze, the controversial faith leader admitted that the movie -- one that some U.S. officials falsely blamed for Americans' deaths in Libya -- was an inspiration for his new project.
"'The Innocent Prophet' brings an association to the 'Innocence of Muslims,'" he said, going so far as to call the new film "a follow-up."
That said, Jones told TheBlaze that the new movie will differ greatly from the original. While he admitted never viewing "Innocence of Muslims" in its entirety, based on the trailer he concluded that it "was a satire." In contrast, "The Innocent Prophet" will be presented in a more "sober, factual movie form."
Contrary to what many might expect, Jones spoke in a calm and collected tone, conversationally explaining how he came to embrace the new project. He said that Firasat approached Stand Up America "a few months ago" and sought out his group's support.
Jones described the man as an ex-Muslim, now a Spanish citizen, who was originally from Pakistan. Today, he's a Christian who apparently seeks to warn Muslims and non-Muslims, alike, about the purported dangers associated with the faith. Jones said that Firasat is making "The Innocent Prophet" mostly on his own, but that Stand Up America is involved in helping him piece it together and approving content.
Controversial Pastor Terry Jones stands at a small protest at the site of the Park 51 proposed mosque. (Getty File Photo)
The two plan to hold a joint press conference on Dec. 14 in Spain to officially unveil the movie -- part of Jones' efforts to "to raise an awareness of the dangers of Islam to Western Civilization."
A trailer for the film has already been released in English, Spanish, Urdu, Hindi and subtitles are expected to soon be available in Arabic. The film, itself, will come out in multiple languages as well.
"Muslims say that Islam is a peaceful and tolerant religion," the narrator claims in the film's preview, as verses showing peace flash across the screen, followed by an image of the World Trade Center in flames. "But the evidence speaks to the contrary -- that Islam is a violent, full of hatred and intolerant religion."
Watch the trailer, below:
Based on the content released so far and on the interview with Jones, it looks as though the film will frame Muhammad as a "child molester, assassin and a self-proclaimed prophet."
"We are trying to give a factual life of Muhammad," Jones said. "His life was one that was pretty perverted in comparison to the life of Jesus."
The pastor said that Muhammad promoted violence and that, even on his deathbed in 632 A.D., he called for his followers "to cleanse the Arabian Peninsula of non-believers" -- something that he contends adherents have done for the past 1,400 years.
As far as funding for the film goes, Jones was tight-lipped, only saying that "The Innocent Prophet" is "privately-funded" and that the raising of monies is a joint effort between Stand Up America and Firasat.
There's likely going to be an overarching fear that some may have upon learning of this film's impending release -- the notion that it will enrage Islamists and cost Americans' (and others') lives.
"I guess something like that is always a concern," Jones said when asked if he's afraid of the project leading to death and destruction. "You're always sort of torn back and forth about what to do or not to do."
But the preacher, whose congregation has dwindled down to about 20 adherents since he began his anti-Islam activism, believes that his message -- and free speech -- make creating this film paramount. Like his justification for his Koran-burning antics, Jones believes that "Islam cannot be an exception" to free speech rights.
It's not surprising that, considering his notoriety across the globe and his fervent views, the faith leader is a target of Islamist angst. He claims that he has had over 400 death threats and that he is "always armed."
Photo Credit: YouTube
"Anytime I travel, we always contact the police at the airport and then the local authorities where we travel to," he explained, noting the extent to which he goes to in order to maintain his own safety.
Looking back at the chaos that has erupted as a result of some of his projects, TheBlaze asked if he has any regrets or wishes he had done anything differently. He was candid.
"I actually do not," he proclaimed. "I don't have any regrets."