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Cerritos Home Tied to Maker of Anti-Islamist Film

A man who claims to have made the 14-minute online movie used a cell phone that was traced to a Cerritos residence -- the scene of significant police and media activity on Wednesday night.

UPDATE (Thursday, 5:20 p.m.): The street outside the Cerritos home is crowded with media outlets, from as far away as NTV in Japan to local L.A. stations. A reporter approached the front door of the home and peeked through a window in the door. About 10 minutes later, someone inside the home taped up paper over the window.

Multiple knocks on the door by various reporters have failed to attract an answer from the home's occupants.

As neighbors arrived home from work and neighborhood kids came home from school, the media spectacle unfolding in the quiet Cerritos neighborhood was something to talk about.

"Look at all those cameras... Take a picture of those cameras," one mother remarked to her daughter who snapped pictures of televisoin reporters, photographers and large satellite trucks.

A short time later, a group of middle school-aged kids, who live in the area and said they were friends with one of Nakoula's sons, also knocked on the front door to see if anybody would come out. Their knocks also went unanswered.

Residents in the area told Patch that this stretch of street is normally quiet and uneventful. The fact that such a neighbor may have a connection to such a large world news event was something they said they never expected.

"They seem normal," said Hana Shields, who lives nearby. "I am shocked. Just completely in shock, especially in this neighborhood," she said. "It is a very quiet neighborhood...everybody is friendly."

John Schreiber of Cerritos-Artesia Patch is stationed at the scene. Check back with Patch for any additional updates.

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A man who claims to have made the movie suspected of sparking the outrage and demonstrations that turned violent in Cairo and Libya and led to the slayings of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three others apparently has ties to the city of Cerritos.

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In a phone interview with The Wall Street Journal late Tuesday, a California real-estate developer who identified himself as 52-year-old Israeli-American Sam Bacile said he made the film -- "Muhammad Movie Trailer" (also referred to as the "Innocence of Muslims") -- and was backed by Jewish donors. 

The low budget 14-minute trailer, which was posted on YouTube in early July under an account listed as "Sam Bacile", includes vulgar and offensive scenes that insult and mock the life of the Prophet Muhammad. Portions of the actors lines also seem to have been poorly edited and dubbed over with voiceovers in post-production -- something that has left one of the actors threatening to sue the filmmaker

According to the WSJ, a records search performed on Wednesday turned up no references to anyone in the U.S. by the name Sam Bacile. The cell phone number used in the initial phone interview, the WSJ reports, was registered to a user at a home in Cerritos but the number had since been disconnected.

Cerritos Home Draws Heavy Police and Media Presence Wednesday Night

According to a local resident, several members of the media along with Cerritos sheriff's deputies converged on a residence located south of 166th Street and Bloomfield Avenue, where the alleged filmmaker may reside. Calls to the questioning reports of the filmmaker's possible ties to the city were deferred to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Headquarters Bureau, which as of about 5:30 a.m. had no official comment on the matter. Media outlets from all over the world were reportedly bombarding the Cerritos Station with calls starting late Wednesday night. 

A public records search performed by Patch of the Cerritos residence in question shows ties to the name Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.

The WSJ reported that a young man who answered the door at that home on Wednesday afternoon said a man named Nakoula B. Nakoula lived there. But when another man answered the door at other times that same day, he said no one by that name lived there.

The Associated Press, however, reported early Thursday that it had tracked down Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who admitted to helping with logistics for the film, but he denied directing it. Nakoula also told the AP that he knew the self-described filmmaker, Sam Bacile.

Nakoula further denied posing as Bacile, although when he offered his driver's license to show his identity he kept his thumb over his middle name, Basseley, according to the AP. 

Southland Muslim Leaders Condemn Film

Southern California Muslim leaders have condemned the slaying of the U.S. ambassador and the three foreign service workers as well as the film implicated at the heart of the outrage.

"It is certainly not a random act,'' Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said of the movie at a news conference in Anaheim Wednesday. 

The movie "lacks any intellectual basis,'' Ayloush said. "It only includes vulgar and offensive scenes to incite and provoke such behavior from those who lack rationality in dealing with hate messages."

"The extremists who produced the movie threw bait and the extremist Muslims took the bait,'' he said. 

The movie and the reaction to it show "a conflict (between) people who believe religion unites us versus those who use and abuse religion to promote their narrow agendas of hate and extremism,'' Ayloush said.

- John Schreiber also contributed to this report along with City News Service.

* Keep up-to-date on all Cerritos-Artesia news, alerts and events by “liking” us on Facebook and following us on Twitter
Guillermo Arzate September 13, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Why is it that if someone makes a film that is anti-christian/catholic/jewishl/etc. They just tell their fellow worshipers not to see the film, but if someone makes a joke that Mohamed may have been a woman or something it always causes a violent outrage? I don't understand it.
Observer September 13, 2012 at 04:10 PM
I can see why you do not understand and I can see why you might not see that I do. But I am far from alone. Context is everything when making logical comparisons. You violate basic logic by judging people in their stable and civilized contexts with the same weight as you would far less stable and civilized contexts. Trust this: examples of Christians or Jews doing equally despicable things can be found and not just in cultures where stability is struggling. As for why there still are unstable Muslim cultures: all cultures evolve -- just not at the same pace. Perfect example: at one time the world was dominated by unquestionably violent Christian cultures. Muslim violence will come to an end. Notice the violent Christian cultures came to an end. Evolution cannot be avoided.
Watts September 13, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Here this should help: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depictions_of_Muhammad Even favorable depictions are not accepted by most(?) Muslims. Which was probably first addressed in popular culture with the making of the movie; The Message: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074896/trivia And there have been literally thousands of well published incidents where there have been similar outcries from ranging from polite to radical, based on depictions that ranged from historical to mockery in cartoons (most famously, with South Park). Really, unless you have been living under a rock, I don't know how can ask this. All that I can figure is that you can't personally relate, simply because your faith does not hold such a strong belief about depictionf of its deities. I am Christian and I grew up seeing depictions of God, Jesus, the prophets, etc., so there was no underlying belief that they could not be depicted at all. While I may not like everybody's depictions of these icons of Christianity, there has never been a blanketing belief in my faith that any and all depictions are in violation of my religion. And this is in no way a justification for any violence, just an explanation to somebody who simply didn't seem to understand. Also, this film maker created this with the sole intent of violating these beliefs in the most despicable ways that he could think of and then targeted that audience by preparing a translated version for them.
Jean Pierre Katz September 13, 2012 at 09:45 PM
The maker of the film "Sam Basile",s real name is Nakoula Bassaley Nakoula. Previously convicted of fraud, I hope we get more interviews of him and why he did not identify his true name, religion, and nationality since obviously religions are important for him. Reporters can try to contact him in Cerritos, California at a residence located south of 166th Street and Bloomfield Avenue.
Robert Rowley September 14, 2012 at 10:02 AM
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula lives at 12608 PARK ST, CERRITOS, CALIFORNIA, 90703. DOB: 20 July, 1957...Several criminal charges through Orange County Superior Court. The criminal filths picture at: http://bit.ly/QnfK9K
Watts September 14, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Are you sure that is his picture? I saw that picture in another article and by the set up of the article I also thought that was him, until I read it in more detail and then I thought that there was a reference to the photo stating that this was somebody else who actually had nothing to do with this. I can't find that article now, but I think that photo may be somebody else.
LG Joe September 14, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Look at the film for the doors inside this house. The inside of the doors match the outside doors in the photo of this house. Therefore, it is most likely the part of the film was captured inside this home. The dark stained double-doors with the four pie-shaped windows above each. In the scene, you can see the peephole, deadbolt and door handle in the same position and spacing in both the film and the photo of the front doors of this house. Compare the images in these links: This photo is of the outside of the door, it’s from another Patch story: http://cerritos.patch.com/articles/nakoula-basseley-nakoula-sam-bacile-world-s-eyes-glued-to-cerritos-residence-as-creator-of-anti-islam-film-remains-in-hiding#photo-11352670 This photo is of the inside of the door, it’s from the video: http://i47.tinypic.com/fk0d9y.jpg
Watts September 15, 2012 at 05:32 AM
One of the neighbors already confirmed that is the inside of the house that is seen in that clip. There are so many articles with so many niblets of info, but it had to do with a neighbor who's kid is friends with their kid and had been inside of their house.
Watts September 18, 2012 at 01:10 AM
His photo is finally out: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/photo-nakoula-basseley-nakoula-revealed-photo-surfaces-efforts-shield-face-media-interview-police-article-1.1160761
Watts September 18, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Sorry, I first posted this as a reply to the incorrect original post: His photo is finally out: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/photo-nakoula-basseley-nakoula-revealed-photo-surfaces-efforts-shield-face-media-interview-police-article-1.1160761
Watts September 18, 2012 at 04:32 AM
Here is a very coherent analysis of how this film crosses outside of simple 1st amendment protection: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-chayes-innocence-of-muslims-first-amendment-20120918,0,3112718.story

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