In California, Coptic Christian, Muslim leaders denounce film

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — California Coptic Christian and Muslim leaders Monday denounced an anti-Islamic movie that has sparked violence in the Middle East, as the filmmaker and his family went into hiding. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is a Cerritos man and self-described Coptic Christian who made “Innocence of Muslims,” a crudely produced film ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad as a fraud, philanderer and child molester.

Monday, a Muslim leader and a Coptic orthodox bishop spoke to reporters at Los Angeles City Hall to condemn the film and attacks against any religions.

Maher Hathout, senior adviser for the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles, said the reaction in the Middle East has been unwarranted and irrational for such an “insignificant production.” He said the filmmakers are “psychologically diseased with hearts full of hate and minds full of ignorance.”

Bishop Serapion of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Southern California said the actions of a few ignorant individuals do not represent the views of Coptic Christians and Muslims.

“We find there is no justification whatsoever that is to do such kind of movie,” Serapion said.

Many of the 300,000 Coptic Christians in the U.S. left Egypt to escape Muslim persecution. In the past decade, Coptic Churches have been attacked.

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