Muslim and Coptic Orthodox Christian leaders will join forces in downtown Los Angeles today to condemn the anti-American violence flaring in Muslim countries and the anti-Muslim film clip that triggered it.
Dr. Maher Hathout, an Egyptian-born physician who speaks for the Muslim Public Affairs Council of Southern California, and Bishop Serapion, the spiritual leader of the Coptic Orthodox church in Los Angeles, are expected to be the main speakers at a late-morning news conference on City Hall's South Lawn.
"Our religions teach us to respond to hate speech with good speech and good work," Hathout said in condemning the violence directed at Americans.
"The behavior exhibited does not speak for the majority of Muslims and are the actions of a small group," Mathout said. "This irrational behavior cannot be allowed to spread, and this movie cannot be allowed to dictate our actions."
Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Tripoli, was killed along with three other State Department employees Sept. 11 in an attack on the American Consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi by a heavily armed force coinciding with a demonstration. He is believed to have died of smoke inhalation.
An anti-American demonstration also took place Sept. 11 in Cairo, where the U.S. Embassy was breached but did not come under gunfire.
The demonstrations were sparked by a supposed movie trailer for "The Innocence of Muslims" -- it's not clear that an entire movie really exists -- that was posted on YouTube and featured dialogue insulting the prophet Mohammed. The words were spoken in Egyptian Arabic and added after filming without the actors' knowledge.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, an Egyptian Copt and naturalized U.S. citizen who has been identified as one of the makers of the film, was escorted from his home in Cerritos just after midnight on Saturday by deputies who took him to their Station for questioning by his federal probation officer.
Federal probation officials in Los Angeles are investigating if Nakoula violated his probation stemming from an earlier bank fraud conviction, authorities said. Under the terms of his probation, he was not supposed to use the internet without permission. He remains out of the public eye.