The Phone Call That Launched the Video Riots
A CRUDE video about the prophet Muhammad that triggered unprecedented protests, became a touchstone for anger across the world through a phone call about two weeks ago from a controversial US-based anti-Islam activist to a reporter for an Egyptian newspaper.
Morris Sadek, a Coptic Christian living in suburban Washington, DC, whose anti-Islam campaigning led to the revocation of his Egyptian citizenship this year, had an exclusive story for Gamel Girgis, who covers Christian emigrants for al-Youm al-Sabaa (The Seventh Day), a daily newspaper in Cairo.
Sadek said he had a clip he wanted Girgis to see and he emailed him a link.
”He told me he produced a movie last year and wanted to screen it on September 11 to reveal what was behind the terrorists’ actions that day,” Girgis said, recalling the first call, which came on September 4.
Sadek, a longtime source, ”considers me the boldest journalist, the only one that would publish such stories”, Girgis said.
He said he found the movie insulting.
On September 6, Girgis published a three-paragraph article, calling the movie ”shocking” and warning it could fuel sectarian tensions between Egyptian Christians and Muslims.
Girgis concluded that the video ”is just a passing crisis that doesn’t affect the bond between Muslims and Copts”.
Five days later, thousands of Egyptians stormed the US embassy in Cairo and burnt the American flag while as many as 125 armed men overwhelmed the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing the US ambassador and three other diplomats.
Three days after that, protests in 23 countries included the ransacking of the German embassy in Sudan and the burning of the American School in Tunisia.