The Egyptian general prosecutor has issued arrest warrants for 8 Americans in relation to the anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims.” Among the 8 are Coptic Christian Nakoula Basseley Nakoula of California, who helped produce the film, and Florida Pastor and highly controversial Quran-burning figure Terry Jones.
The warrants accuse them of “insulting the Islamic Religion, insulting the Prophet Muhammad and inciting sectarian strife,” charges which are punishable by the death, according to Sharia law.
Egyptian authorities have contacted Interpol and a formal request will also be forthcoming with U.S. judicial authorities.
Mamdouh Ismail,an ultraconservative Salafi lawyer said the move might help offset public anger to the film.
“Now these are legal measures instead of angry reactions, whose consequences are undetermined. This would also set a deterrent for them and anyone else who may fall into this offense.”
But others are concerned that any refusal by U.S. authorities to extradite the accused will result in further middle east hostilities and that a willingness by the U.S. to follow the orders would result in similar unrest here in the states by an already beleaguered and weary U.S. public, many of whom are Christian. According to the U.S. constitution, the 8 people named on the arrest warrants have not broken any laws. It’s not illegal in the U.S. to speak poorly of any religion or religious leaders; a fact Christians know all too well.
In his initial response, Pastor Terry Jones blasted Egypt, stating that the move proves that Islam is a religion of “intolerance.”
“It is time that we join together in the west and give a very clear signal that we stand against terrorism, against intimidation, against fear, against every form of violation of human rights, civil rights, violations against women and children of which Islam is the prime example. We must protect freedom of speech. Freedom of speech and freedom of expression are the very cornerstone of a free society. As we began to limit that, or lose that, we will lose the ability to govern ourselves.”