If there's a story involving California, crazy religious people and Islamophobia, it's always a sure bet that there's an Orange County connection. And now we have it. Or rather him.
Zakaria Botros Henein may not have made “Innocence of Muslims,” the 12-minute trailer that trashes Islam and which has led to riots throughout the Muslim world. But the Coptic Christian cleric, who was exiled from Egypt more than a decade ago and whose views have been denounced by mainstream leaders of his church, provided an inspiration to the film-makers.
And according to the LA Times, Botros, who owns property in Huntington Beach and a TV network in Westminster, really loves the film and the attention it's getting. The Times wasn't able to track Botros down for an interview–he's been keeping a low profile ever since being subjected to a fatwa backed by a $60 million prize from Al Qaeda–but Botros himself took to the airwaves to praise the film.
“We are stating the truth and showing the path of redemption,” Botros reportedly said of the movie. Botros also told viewers of his network, Alfady Christian TV, that the violent reaction to the film proves the film's thesis that Islam is the religion of terrorism. “They're proving that Islam is terrorism to the whole world,” the Times quotes him as stating. “This is what Islam is like: Islam of killing, Islam of terrorism, Islam of setting things on fire.”
For someone who is defending a film whose purpose seems to be causing religious conflict in the most insulting and artistically indefensible manner conceivable, Botros is reveling in the bloodletting by striking a moderate tone. “Isn't America the one who set you free from [Libyan strongman Moammar] Kadafi? . . . I wish you would be civil and be reasonable and respond to what is said against Islam with calm reason.”
There's a website for Alfady TV that seems to have a video ready to play, but clicking on the play button fails to deliver the goods. Probably a good thing. There's also a Facebook page for the network, which has 53 likes. Praise Jesus!