A California man convicted of bank fraud was taken in for questioning on Saturday by officers investigating possible probation violations stemming from the making of an anti-Islam film that triggered violent protests in the Muslim world.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, voluntarily left his home in the early hours of Saturday morning for the meeting in a sheriff’s station in the Los Angeles suburb of Cerritos, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said.
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“He will be interviewed by federal probation officers,” Whitmore said. He said Nakoula had not been placed under arrest but would not be returning home immediately. “He was never put in handcuffs… It was all voluntary.”
Nakoula, who has denied involvement in the film in a phone call to his Coptic Christian bishop, was ushered out of his home and into a waiting car by several sheriff’s deputies, his face shielded by a scarf, hat and sunglasses.
The crudely made 13-minute English-language film, filmed in California and circulated on the Internet under several titles including “Innocence of Muslims”, mocks the Prophet Mohammad.
The film sparked a violent protest at the U.S. consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi during which the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed on Tuesday. Protests have spread to other countries across the Muslim world.
For many Muslims, any depiction of the prophet is blasphemous. Caricatures deemed insulting in the past have provoked protests and drawn condemnations from officials, preachers, ordinary Muslims and many Christians.