MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Controversial Florida pastor Terry Jones, who is famous for promoting the burning of Koran’s which incited riots in Afghanistan, is defending the online movie that sparked a violent attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya that killed four Americans, including the American ambassador.
The film that Pastor Jones, of Gainesville promoted is called the “Innocence of Muslims”, which was produced in the United States, and allegedly insults Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.
Protesters in Libya and Egypt exploded in anger at the film and launched assaults against the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, killing Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
President Barack Obama has condemned the attack and said the U.S. will work with the Libyan government to bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice. He said “no acts of terror” will shake America’s resolve.
Obama said the U.S. rejects any efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, but said there is “absolutely no justification” for violent attacks.
Pastor Jones issued this statement following the violent and deadly attack in Libya and his involvement in the film, Innocence of Muslims:
“We have been contacted by the producer of the film, ‘Innocence of Muslims’, to help distribute it. The film is not intended to insult the Muslim community, but it is intended to reveal truths about Muhammad that are possibly not widely known. The examination of his life, as we have done through International Judge Muhammad Day, through this type of close examination, it is very clear that God did not influence him in the writings of the Koran. The fruits of the religion speak for themselves. For example the recent outbreak of violence and deaths is not because of the film, it is not because of the activities that we have done and that we will continue to do. These types of violent activities must be totally rejected. These people must be held accountable. It again shows the true nature of Islam. Islam does not tolerate criticism of Muhammad, the Koran or Sharia. Because of their fear of criticism, knowing that if Islam and the Koran were closely examined, Muhammad and the Koran will be revealed for what it is, a lie and a deception.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the attacks but said “inflammatory material posted on the Internet” is not a justification for “violent acts of this kind.”
“The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others,” she said. “Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.”
Jones showed the trailer for the film, which disparages the life of the Prophet Mohammed and his followers, on Tuesday during what he called, “International Judge Mohammad Day.”
Jones was behind a campaign to burn several copies of the Muslim holy book, the Quran, in 2010 at his church, earning infamy and attention as a strident critic of the religion.
The man who made the film, Sam Bacile has gone into hiding but said by phone from an undisclosed location that “Islam is a cancer” and he intended his film to be a provocative political statement condemning the religion.
Bacile, a California real estate developer who identifies himself as an Israeli Jew, said he believes the movie will help his native land by exposing Islam’s flaws to the world.