This story is over 5 years old.


Interview: Terry Jones Takes Death Threats With Cups of Decaf

One figure who is not hiding his connection to the film is Terry Jones, the Koran-burning small-town pastor of Gainesville, Florida, who told sources after seeing the trailer that he would like to screen it publicly. I decided it was time to finally...

Sam Bacile, the person who supposedly authored, directed, and uploaded to YouTube a trailer for Innocence of Muslims, the awfully offensive movie that’s inflamed anti-American anger in the Middle East, has become the source of controversy after it became apparent that he doesn’t actually exist. This morning, the AP reported it had traced Bacile’s cell phone records to the address of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a Coptic Christian who, shortly after being discovered, admitted that he had in fact had a hand in the production.


Still, the question remains: Who the shit is Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, and how did he become Sam Bacile? Nikoula denied he was Bacile to an AP reporter, although he’s also gone by the alias Basily and at least a dozen other names, and has previously been arrested for bank fraud. Whoever he is, he’s gone into hiding.

One figure who is not hiding his connection to the film is Terry Jones, the Koran-burning small-town pastor of Gainesville, Florida, who told sources after seeing the trailer that he would like to screen it publicly. I decided it was time to finally get in touch with Pastor Jones myself. After an incessant busy signal, I reached Stephanie, a secretary at Dove World Outreach, Jones’ Church. After some back and forth, she gave me his cell phone number. We’d have to be quick, she said. Jones was busy, and expecting a visit from the FBI.

Hi Terry. How are you? Stephanie told me you have the FBI coming to visit you this afternoon.

We’re doing fine. This is of course not the first time we’ve been involved this way. As you know we had our International Burn the Koran Day in 2010, in 2011 we had International Judge the Koran Day – at that time we had a four or five hour trial to look at it in Arabic and in English. We had experts on both sides of the Koran. At that time, the Koran was found guilty of violations against human rights, civil rights and freedom of speech rights. At that time, we burned the Koran. We also had an event at the beginning of this year in protest of Pastor Youcef’s imprisonment in Iran, for converting from Islam to Christianity. On September the 11th, we had our International Judge Muhammad Day. We had 43 different things that we talked about concerning Muhammad’s life, revealing that indeed he led a very disturbed life; also a very, very violent life. At the end of that we also had the punishment of burning the Koran and the image of Muhammad.


What’s your connection to this video?

Sure, this whole thing with the film – we came in contact with the producer of the film several weeks ago. He contacted us and wanted us to see the film, promote the film and put our stamp of approval on the film. In the meantime, I have talked to him several times. We watched the trailer of the film, and we felt the trailer was definitely accurate. It’s no Hollywood movie or anything, it’s a satire. But it’s very accurate. It does show the perversion of Muhammad, it does show his very very violent nature and somewhat of a sick nature which you can understand if you study his life and see the things that he went through as a young man.

Of course, I have done many interviews, I’ve been bombarded. I got a call yesterday – I think around 8:30 – from General Dempsey, he’s the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Yes, Stephanie told me about that. How did that go?

It’s not the first time I’ve gotten calls from the government. I’ve gotten calls from General Gates, the Defense Secretary. I got calls from General Allen and of course, many spiritual leaders. General Dempsey asked me not to show or promote the film. He felt the film was inappropriate. He felt that the film was incite or cause violence. I told him that I had at that time not seen the film, that I would watch the film, I would definitely take all of that into consideration. As I told him, just as I told General Allen, “I understand that, and of course we have sympathy for that, and we will definitely take that into consideration.”


We just have a couple of problems with those issues. How far do we back down? They have been abusing Islam for many many generations, and that’s one of the reasons that they now feel so bold. I mean, you have to imagine the audacity of that. They feel so bold that they can climb the fence of our U.S. embassy, they can tear down the flag, they can erect a black Islamic flag, praising Allah and Muhammad. They can break into our embassy there in Libya and they can kill the U.S. ambassador, yeah, and those things are still going on over there.

Who knows what’s going to happen tomorrow, because of course tomorrow is Friday. That’s their big day of prayer. It definitely shows that the United States has done something wrong. The world does not respect us, they do not think anything is going to happen. That’s why I say, “How far do we back down?” To me Islam is like a big bully: You go to school and you get asked for your lunch money, you give them your lunch money thinking you have peace. Then he comes back and demands your lunch money and your jacket. And of course people try to blame us for the incidents over there. I tell them that all we have done is exercise our First Amendment rights.

How do you feel about Obama’s statement that Egypt is ‘neither friend nor foe’?

President Obama has of course contributed to the problem that we have. President Obama is pro-Islam, he cancelled the national day of prayer, he welcomes Ramadan. He himself — when he went to school in Indonesia – was registered as an Indonesian citizen and his religion was Islam. He definitely does not present a strong American leader. He definitely does not condemn Islam in a strong enough manner. He is definitely no help at all in this particular area. He condemned us for the proposed burning of the Koran in 2010, which was our free speech and free action rights protected by the First Amendment. He condemned that, but he welcomed and defended the building of the so-called Ground Zero Mosque. So, I think definitely that President Obama is an enemy of the Constitution and of the United States.


I have told all the people that I have talked to that we have to definitely protect our First Amendment. I have been to Egypt twice, I’ve been to 25 or 30 nations. We are basically the only country left with true freedom of speech. Our country has qualified it. Even the U.N. Is trying to get freedom qualified or outlawed, so we definitely have to fight for that.

I just talked to [the director] about an hour ago. Let’s put it like this, I don’t think anyone knows his real name. We’re going to help him as much as we can.


It looks like people are confirming the producer of the film is Sam Bacile or Nikoula Baselley Nikoula, and that he has gone into hiding. Do you know anything about that? Do you feel that going into hiding is the righteous thing, or do you think he is being a coward?

Yeah, he definitely is. He has gone into hiding. We talked to him several times, in fact I just talked to him about an hour ago. Let’s put it like this, I don’t think anyone knows his real name. We’re going to help him as much as we can, we’ve stretched out to him because everyone else has pretty much abandoned him now, because they are afraid. Everyone has to decide what they are going to do. For us, we have no intention of going into hiding or backing down. We are going to continue to exercise our First Amendment rights. We are going to continue to speak out against Islam. It is a very very dangerous religion, it has a very strong radical element. It is very dangerous to our nation’s security. Of course Islam is not the only thing that we speak out on, we speak out on many subjects.


I also have several-hundred death threats. Even right now, we have received in the last couple of days a couple of dozen death threats. An Islamic organization out of Pakistan has put a reward on my life for $2.4 million. We definitely are endangered and have been for several years. We are not going to be driven into hiding, we are not going to be driven into fear and we’re definitely not going to back down with the speaking of our mind.

No Xanax or anti-anxiety medication over there?

I am not on any medication, no. (laughs)

No cigarettes, no coffee?

I drink decaf coffee. But this isn’t my first time with this type of ‘controversy.’ We’ve done demonstrations all around America, especially in very hot places such as Dearborn and New york City, so we are familiar with this type of thing. But it’s important, America is headed in a very bad direction. And I believe someone has to speak up. So, that’s what were are going to continue to do, yes.

Follow Dan on Twitter: @danstuckey