The low-budget, obscure film that's being blamed for sparking the deadly violence in Libya that killed U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and other U.S. officials is still being promoted by controversial Florida pastor Terry Jones.
Speaking to a television reporter in Orlando Jones said he had no role in creating the film, but said he planned to show it at his church in Gainesville and promoted it to a wider audience. In a statement released before the deaths in Benghazi, Libya was confirmed Jones condemned the earlier violence in Egypt.
" The fact that angry protesters climbed the wall at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo today, ripped down the American flag and tore it apart further indicates the lack of respect that Islam has for any other religion, any other flag, any freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of religion," Jones said. "It further illustrates that they have no tolerance for anything outside of Mohammed."
Although there was initial confusion about who made the film, The Wall Street Journal reported that the drama, titled 'Innocence of Muslims,' was produced and directed by an Israeli-American, Sam Bacile, a California real-estate developer who called Islam 'a cancer.' In an interview. Mr. Bacile told The Journal that he raised $5 million from about 100 Jewish donors and shot the two-hour movie in California last year.
Tuesday's film controversy came one day after Jones announced that he planned to put the prophet Mohammed on trial in what he called International Judge Mohammad Day. In a video announcing the "trial," Jones said he planned to charge the prophet, "with being a false prophet, thus leading 1.6 billion people astray." Islam forbids any depiction of Mohammad because he's seen as someone whose greatness can't be replicated
Jones has been tied to earlier violence in the Middle East and has made controversial visits to Metro Detroit as well.
In 2010 a call by Jones to burn Korans on the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2011 terrorist attacks on America, put the U.S. military on alert fearing the move would endanger the lives of troops fighting Islamist extremists in Afghanistan and Iraq. Jones called off the burning, but thousands of Afghans set fires in the streets of Kabul and other cities.
Jones' congregation eventually burned a Koran in March 2011, triggering protests across Afghanistan after video of the ceremony was posted on the internet. Hundreds of protestors then stormed a U.N. compound in Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan, killing seven foreigners and four Nepalese guards.
In April of 2011 security was high as Jones made appearances in Dearborn where he and supporters promoted Christianity while criticizing Islam in front of the Islamic Center of America on Ford Road. Crowds of demonstrators shouted at Jones and had to be restrained by police. Click on the link to see earlier reports about Jones and his visits to Dearborn.
Also in April, Jones went face-to-face with a Dearborn Imam during an interview with FOX 2's Huel Perkins on Let It Rip.
Jones and his group, Stand Up America! have since announced that they will return to Dearborn to demonstrate on a sidewalk in front of Edsel Ford High School on October 10th.
Look for continuing coverage of Jones on FOX 2 News and on myFOXDetroit.com.