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Muslim, Coptic leaders denounce anti-Islam film violence

September 17, 2012 |  9:22 am

Innocence of Muslims film
As violence continues to spread across the Middle East in response to the controversial "Innocence of Muslims" film, Muslim and Coptic leaders are calling for peace and an end to rioting.

Dr. Maher Hathout, senior advisor for the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and Bishop Serapion, head of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Los Angeles, are scheduled to appear at a news conference Monday morning outside City Hall.

The movie, which screened in Hollywood and was made in Southern California, has angered Muslims because of its negative depictions of the prophet Muhammad.

TIMELINE: 'Innocence of Muslims' unrest

The man believed to be responsible for the film is a Coptic Christian.

"The actions of a few ignorant individuals do not represent the collective Diaspora Cops, nor do they represent the collective Muslim community," Bishop Serapion said.

The two leaders issued a joint statement that they "collectively condemn desecration directed at any religion, namely in the form of the anti-Islam film 'Innocence of Muslims.'"

A controversial Coptic cleric -- sometimes called Islam's Public Enemy No. 1 -- has defended the film.

The preacher, Zakaria Botros Henein, owns a home in Huntington Beach, and his teachings influenced the Southern California men behind the anti-Islam movie, according to Times reports. He is known around the globe for insults to the prophet Muhammad that are strikingly similar to those in the film.

During his satellite TV show on Alfady TV, Botros said: "We are stating the truth and showing the path of redemption," Botros said.


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-- Kimi Yoshino

Photo: A scene from the 14-minute video trailer for the film "Innocence of Muslims," which has sparked violence in the Middle East and North Africa. Credit: YouTube