The New York Times has uncovered quite a bit of information about the California-based gang of idiots behind that Innocence of Muslims video. There's not much about the guy who's said to have directed the video, Sam Bacile (Bacile, according to one report, may actually be a U.S.-based Coptic Christian named Nakoula Basseley Nakoula), but there is a fair amount about Steve Klein:
The film that set off violence across North Africa was made in obscurity somewhere in the sprawl of Southern California, and promoted by a network of right-wing Christians with a history of animosity directed toward Muslims....Um, Klein can't really believe that, can he? Can he seriously believe that Muslims would watch this and not be outraged?
One of its main producers, Steve Klein, a Vietnam veteran whose son was severely wounded in Iraq, is notorious across California for his involvement with anti-Muslim actions, from the courts to schoolyards to a weekly show broadcast on Christian radio in the Middle East....
The original idea for the film, Mr. Klein said, was to lure hard-core Muslims into a screening of the film thinking they were seeing a movie celebrating Islam. "And when they came in they would see this movie and see the truth, the facts, the evidence and the proof," he said. "So I said, yeah, that's a good idea." ...
On some level, I think he might believe -- or at least he might be deceiving himself that it's possible. Think about the street preachers who waved Bibles in Times Square in the bad old days. Hell, think about Mormon missionaries like Mitt Romney whose proselytizing in Paris was wildly unsuccessful. This is THE TRUTH -- surely people will recognize it when they see it!
But what I think really motivates a guy like Klein is that he craves feeling besieged. He confronts people with material he knows is inflammatory and profoundly insulting because he wants to be attacked. He's addicted to that adrenaline rush. He's addicted to the notion that he's suffering in order to get out The Truth. He thinks he's some sort of hero.
The Southern Poverty Law Center tells us more about Klein, in a report on the hatemongering Church of Kaweah, with which Klein is affiliated:
Klein, who calls Islam a "penis-driven religion" and thinks Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca is a Muslim Brotherhood patsy, is allied with Christian activist groups across California. In 2011, as head of the Concerned Citizens for the First Amendment, he worked with the Vista, Calif.-based Christian Anti-Defamation Commission on a campaign to "arm" students with the "truth about Islam and Muhammad" -- mainly by leafleting high schools with literature depicting the Prophet Mohammed as a sex-crazed pedophile.See? There it is. Being attacked or mocked for doing this leafleting is Klein's drug of choice.
Klein, based in Hemet, Calif., has been active in extremist movements for decades. In 1977, he founded Courageous Christians United, which now conducts "respectful confrontations" outside of abortion clinics, Mormon temples and mosques. Klein also has ties to the Minuteman movement. In 2007, he sued the city of San Clemente for ordering him to stop leafleting cars with pamphlets opposing illegal immigration.And he has the classic gun-nut dream of an impending apocalypse that will star him as the hero:
One of the men helping train the [church] flock in the art of combat, a former Marine named Steve Klein, believes that California is riddled with Muslim Brotherhood sleeper cells "who are awaiting the trigger date and will begin randomly killing as many of us as they can."And so this movie gets publicized on Middle Eastern Web sites -- apparently enraging who are just as addicted to confrontation with their enemies as Klein is -- and Klein, at least is satisfied with the result:
"I know I'm getting prepared to shoot back," Klein says.
"We have reached the people that we want to reach," he said in an interview. "And I'm sure that out of the emotion that comes out of this, a small fraction of those people will come to understand just how violent Muhammad was, and also for the people who didn't know that much about Islam. If you merely say anything that's derogatory about Islam, then they immediately go to violence, which I've experienced."He's the victim. He's also the hero. And he doesn't care who else gets hurt as a result of what he helped set in motion.