Producer of anti-Muslim film released from L.A. prison

(JTA) — An Egyptian Christian who was one of the key figures behind an anti-Islam film that sparked violence in the Middle East and elsewhere was released from a Los Angeles prison.

Mark Basseley Youssef, 55, of Los Angeles, who reportedly wrote and produced “Innocence of Muslims,” was released to a half-way house to serve was sentenced in November 2012 to prison for  violating his probation in a 2010 check-kiting case. He will leave the half-way house on September 26, but will be on probation for the next four years, according to Reuters.


Youssef, also known as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, is believed to have uploaded to YouTube a 14-minute trailer translated into Arabic for the crudely produced film ridiculing Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, despite not being allowed to use the Internet without permission from his probation officer.

In the wake of the initial violence following the release of the trailer, two media outlets interviewed a California man who gave his name as Sam Bacile and reportedly said he had produced, directed and written “Innocence of Muslims,” and that Jewish donors had bankrolled the production. But his claims, which included that he was an Israeli American in the real estate business, quickly came under scrutiny and were found to be untrue. It was later revealed that Bacile was Youssef.