Charity head distances himself from film

Sept. 18, 2012 at 1:22 PM
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DUARTE, Calif., Sept. 18 (UPI) -- The head of a religious charity was duped into loaning its California broadcast studio to film the anti-Islamic video "Innocence of Muslims," he said.

Joseph Nassralla, president of Media for Christ, offered the Duarte, Calif., facility to Nakoula B. Nakoula to make what Nassralla believed was a movie about Christian persecution, but had nothing else to do with the film, he said in a statement on the website of anti-Muslim blogger Pamela Gellar.

The film depicts the prophet Muhammad in an unflattering light, and a trailer posted on the website YouTube has generated anti-American protest across the Arab world.

The final product "bore no resemblance to the film I thought he was making. Nakoula altered the film without anyone's knowledge, changing its focus and dubbing in new dialogue," Nassralla wrote.

Nassralla's charity operates "The Way TV," a satellite television network which broadcasts sermons, hymns and anti-Islamic rhetoric, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday, adding that a host on the network, Steve Klein, worked as a script consultant on "Innocence for Muslims."

Nassralla said he was drawn into the controversy because his charity's name was listed on permits for production of the film. He said in his statement he was unaware his organization was included on government filings.

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