Google can show anti-Muslim film that sparked furor, court rules


(JTA) — A federal court in San Francisco ruled that Google does not have to remove a controversial anti-Muslim film from YouTube.

On Monday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an injunction that had prohibited Google from broadcasting “Innocence of Muslims” should be ended. The full 9th Circuit  Court decided to rehear the case after an earlier three-judge panel ordered Google to take down the film.

“Innocence of Muslims” ridicules the Muslim Prophet Muhammad. A 14-minute trailer dubbed in Arabic was cited as the catalyst for riots in 2012 throughout the Arab world and in Arab communities in other countries.

Cindy Lee Garcia, an actress who was featured in the “Innocence of Muslims,” filed a lawsuit in September 2012 against the film’s director, as well as YouTube and its parent company, Google Inc., in which she said she was the victim of death threats and could not visit her grandchildren due to her appearance in the film, which she believed was on a different subject and had been partly dubbed.

The lawsuit names Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, an Egyptian Coptic Christian living in Southern California, as the organizer of the film who misled Garcia. It also names Sam Bacile, who is believed to be an alias for Nakoula.

Bacile was named erroneously in the media as the film’s producer and was quoted in reports as saying that he was an Israeli-American real estate developer hoping to help Israel with the film. He also said the film was financed with $5 million by 100 Jewish donors — a claim that also was untrue.

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