Coptic Christian leader of organization that produced anti-Muslim film spoke at Pamela Geller’s anti-mosque rally

Israel/Palestine
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Nasralla Joseph Nasralla Abdelmasih, on the far right, is the head of Media Christ, the organization behind the anti-Muslim film that sparked protests in the Middle East. To his left is Morris Sadek, an Egyptian-American anti-Muslim activist. (Photo: http://nacopts1.blogspot.com/)

This post has been updated to include a response from Pamela Geller. Scroll to the bottom to see the response.

The leader of the organization reportedly behind the anti-Muslim film sparking angry protests in the Middle East spoke at a rally opposing the Park 51 Islamic center in lower Manhattan last year. That rally, on September 11, 2010, was organized by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, two leading Islamophobic activists and bloggers in the U.S.

The California-based Press Telegram reports today that an organization called Media for Christ produced the Islamophobic film at the center of the controversy that has sparked widespread protests in the Middle East. The film, “Innocence of Muslims,” portrays the Prophet Muhammad as a womanizer, a gay man and a child abuser. Depictions of the Prophet are considered blasphemous to Muslims. 

The head of Media for Christ is Joseph Abdelmasih, the Press Telegram reports. On California’s Secretary of State page, Media for Christ is registered as a business entity with Joseph Nasralla Abdelmasih listed as the “agent for service of process.” Here’s a screenshot of the Secretary of State page:

CA SEC

Nasralla Abdelmasih is an Egyptian Coptic Christian. Some members of that community, which have experienced tensions with Muslims in Egypt, have thrown their lot in with virulent Islamophobes in the U.S. 

The Associated Press revealed more details of who was behind the film yesterday, after a day-long scramble. The AP originally reported that it was an Israeli Jewish person who made the film, but that was a false claim. Last night, the news service reported that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a Coptic Christian living in California, helped with the film.

It appears that Nakoula now had help from Abdelmasih.

Abdelmasih spoke at Geller’s and Spencer’s anti-mosque rally in Manhattan in 2010. The rally was organized to oppose the construction of the Park 51 Islamic center in lower Manhattan, a cause that attracted widespread media attention and led to other high-profile battles against the construction of mosques in the U.S.

“Wake up America!” said Abdelmasih, to a crowd of flag-waving Americans. He said the mosque will be built “over my dead body.” Here’s video of his address:

Ironically, the crowd at the anti-mosque rally first thought that Abdelmasih and his partner were Muslim ”infiltrators trying to disrupt the event,” as a letter Abdelmasih sent to Geller and Spencer read. The letter was published on Spencer’s Jihad Watch website.

Nasralla Abdelmasih has also worked with Steve Klein, the right-wing Christian extremist who was a consultant on the film. Yesterday, Max Blumenthal reported that “in July 2011, Spencer’s website, Jihad Watch, promoted a rally Klein organized alongside the anti-Muslim Coptic extremist Joseph Nasrallah to demand the firing of LA County Sheriff Lee Baca, whom they painted as a dupe for Hamas.”

Pictured above with Nasralla Abdelmasih is Morris Sadek. Sadek, as Chris Toensing of Middle East Report notes, is “well known for risible exaggeration about the proportion of Copts in the Egyptian population and clumsy attempts to exploit Islamophobia in the West to ‘help’ his co-religionists in Egypt.”

Right Wing Watch has more on Sadek:

Sadek, who has worked with Jones in the past, says he is fighting for the rights of his fellow Coptic Christians in Egypt. Unfortunately he seems much more focused on attacking Muslims than helping the Copts. Sadek pulled his Facebook profile around 1 pm today, but we were able to take a look beforehand. Here’s what we found.

Sadek is a supporter of ACT! for America, which believes that President Obama has embraced the Muslim Brotherhood. The group rallied its supporters last month behind Michelle Bachmann’s anti-Muslim witch hunt against Huma Abedin and others. Here’s Sadek with ACT! For America president Brigitte Gabriel at one of the group’s 2010 events.

UPDATE: I e-mailed Pamela Geller to get her response to the fact that the leader of Media for Christ spoke at her anti-mosque rally in 2010. Here’s her response:

This story identifies someone else, Nakoula Nakoula, as the person behind the film:

http://news.yahoo.com/apnewsbreak-us-identifies-anti-muslim-filmmaker-144325233.html

So are you really sure of your assertions here? Facts matter. Is it your intention to put innocent human rights activists in the cross-hairs of savage jihadists?

In any case, whether or not Joseph Nassralla was involved in this film, it doesn’t matter, because the film itself doesn’t matter. It was not the cause of these riots and murders. The film was on YouTube for months before the Muslim rage over it began, and that rage was clearly carefully planned and orchestrated. The film is just a pretext to justify the violence and intimidate the West into adopting Sharia restrictions on the freedom of speech, so that jihad can advance unimpeded and unopposed in the West. And you, by focusing on the film and demonizing the filmmakers, are abetting that.

About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist and graduate student at New York University's Near East Studies and Journalism programs. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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