Los Angeles News

Coptic Christian, Muslim leaders speak out; anti-Islam film creator's family goes into hiding

Monday, September 17, 2012

As protests over an anti-Islam film spread, religious leaders in Southern California are speaking out against the violence and condemning those fueling it.

"We strongly condemn any and all violent reaction and the loss of innocent lives. Along with our nation, we mourn the death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and his staff and offer our heartfelt condolences to their families," said Grace Bishop Serapion, Coptic Orthodox Christian Diocese of L.A. "We cannot allow the actions of a few deceived fanatical individuals to define our communities."

It was the first time that Coptic Christian and Muslim leaders held a news conference together. Both sides condemned "Innocence of Muslims," which is blamed for sparking dozens of protests around the world, including one that led to the attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya last week that killed a U.S. ambassador and 3 other Americans.

"Those are people who are psychologically diseased with hearts full of hate and minds full of ignorance," said Dr. Maher Hathout of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

The man who reportedly made the film, Nakoula Bassely Nakoula from Cerritos, has been in hiding. Early Monday morning, his family left their Cerritos home, with faces covered and duffle bags on their shoulders. Two unmarked sheriff's vehicles then drove the four family members to an undisclosed location to reunite with Nakoula.

"They have gone to a location that they've picked, which they decided would be safer and where they can move about and live more of a normal life. All we did was pick them up and then reunite them with Mr. Nakoula," said Steve Whitmore, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Over the weekend, Nakoula was interviewed by federal probation officers about whether he violated his five-year probation sentence for bank fraud in 2010. Those terms prevent him from using computers, the Internet or false identities.

After that meeting with authorities, Nakoula was not brought back to his Cerritos home. Officials believe the family's move will be permanent.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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