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Now a call for counter-jihad

world Updated: Sep 18, 2012 01:40 IST
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It is a disparate and lonely brotherhood scattered across the US, fighting what it sees as an existential threat: Islam.

There are no headquarters, no organised structure, but members co-ordinate in pursuit of the common cause they call "counter-jihad". With different backgrounds and skills they wage personal campaigns through blogs, books and films to warn US of the grave peril it faces.

Critics call them pedlars of hate, but last week's mayhem in the Middle East thrust them into the spotlight. The group says it is vindicated by the assaults on the US diplomatic missions.

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"In terms of high public profiles, I'd say there are less than a dozen of us," said Eric Alan Bell, a California film-maker and activist. "Not everyone sings off the exact same sheet of music." Bell, 45, a former scourge of Islamophobia, fled his home last Friday in the face of death threats after he was mistakenly identified the maker of the film trailer that inflamed violence across the Arab world.

Bell had nothing to do with Innocence of Muslims, the video posted on YouTube that depicted the Prophet Muhammad as a murderous paedophile.

He scorned the video's ramshackle production values but endorsed its depiction of Muhammad. Citing the first amendment's protection of speech, Bell has posted images of a burning Quran online and a Quran with a pig. Islam, he says, has the mentality of a rapist. "It's all about submission."

The film was produced and directed by an Egyptian-American Coptic Christian, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, who lives outside Los Angeles under the pseudonym Sam Bacile.