UK & World News
Anti-Muslim Film Director Jailed Over Probation
The man behind an anti-Muslim film that led to violence in the Middle East has been sentenced to one year in prison.
Mark Basseley Youssef, 55, was sentenced on Wednesday for violating probation stemming from a 2010 bank fraud conviction.
US District Court Judge Christina Snyder handed down the sentence after Youssef admitted four of eight alleged violations including obtaining a fraudulent California driver's licence.
Youssef served most of a 21-month prison term in the bank fraud case. Federal authorities wanted Youssef to serve two years for the violations.
After he was released from prison, Youssef was barred from using computers or the internet for five years without approval from his probation officer.
None of the violations had to do with the content of "Innocence of Muslims," a film that depicts Mohammad as a religious fraud, paedophile and a womaniser.
However, Assistant US Attorney Robert Dugdale argued Youssef's lies about his identity have caused harm to others, including the film's cast and crew.
Mr Dugdale said: "They had no idea he was a recently released felon. Had they known that, they might have had second thoughts" about being part of the film.
Youssef's attorney Steven Seiden said his client admits to being the film's scriptwriter but had no other involvement except what he described as being a "cultural adviser".
Federal authorities have said they believe Youssef is responsible for the film, but they have not said whether he was the person who posted it online.
The movie sparked violence in Libya and other parts of the Muslim world, killing dozens. Enraged Muslims had demanded severe punishment for him, with a Pakistani cabinet minister even offering $100,000 to anyone who kills him.
After the hearing on Wednesday, Mr Seiden told reporters he had a message to relay from his client.
"The one thing he wanted me to tell all of you is President Obama may have gotten Osama bin Laden, but he didn't kill the ideology," Mr Seiden said.
Asked what that meant, Mr Seiden said, "I didn't ask him, and I don't know."
what do you think?
I've never watched The Innocence of Muslims, nor do I intend to. Nevertheless the reaction the film has made highlights, yet again, just how ready some Muslim extremists are to use anything said against them as an excuse for murder. Can you imagine the Dalia Lama, The Pope or the Archbishop of Canterbury ordering a hitman to murder someone? The thought is almost laughable. It's for that reason I don't regard Islam as a religion, but a dangerous ideology.
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If it had been a muslim man making a film about mocking Christians, he would probably never even been questioned.