Promoters of Anti-Muslim Film Exposed: News Roundup

In the news this week:  details emerge about forces behind anti-Muslim film, presidential candidates increase “God talk,” and other stories.

California Coptic Christian and Muslim leaders on Monday denounced an anti-Islamic movie that has sparked violence in the Middle East, as the filmmaker and his family left their suburban home and went into hiding.

The Southern California religious leaders joined a chorus of condemnation about last week's killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans as violence continued and the leader of the powerful militant group Hezbollah called for more protests.

At the center of the controversy is Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 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.  Seattle Times

The Southern California men behind the anti-Islamic movie that has enraged the Arab world were influenced by a fiery Coptic cleric who owns a home in Huntington Beach and is known around the globe for insults to the prophet Muhammad that are strikingly similar to those in the film.

The preacher, Zakaria Botros Henein, sometimes called Islam's Public Enemy No. 1, teaches that Muhammad was a necrophile, a homosexual and a pedophile.  LA Times

At campaign events these days, Mitt Romney often says that if he is elected president, he will emphasize the role of God in American society and will not “take God out of the public square.”

That kind of rhetoric is a departure from earlier less God-focused versions of the Republican candidate’s stump speech and his early apprehension with discussing his Mormon faith.

According to Mark DeMoss, Romney’s adviser to the evangelical community, such lines are designed to create a contrast with a Democratic Party that had to fight to get God into its platform at its recent convention.  CNN

President Barack Obama's campaign is continuing its push for people of faith to cast a November ballot in their favor.  On Monday they unveiled a "People of Faith for Obama" a new initiative to mobilize voters that included Web video of the president and a faith platform.

In the video candidate Obama makes the case that his faith plays a major role in his decision-making process.  He says when hearing stories of faith from Americans he is touched, “They reinforce the power of my Christian faith which has guided me through my presidency and in my life, as a husband, as a father, and as a president.”

The president also made specific reference to the issue of religious liberty.  “In a changing world, my commitment to religious liberty, is and always will be unwavering,” he said.  CNN

Three-quarters of the world's human population of seven billion live under strong government curbs on religion, or among serious "social hostilities" involving faith issues, find researchers.

The US and UK, say the researchers, are among countries showing a worrying rise in religious discrimination.

The conclusions of the project, conducted by the Pew Research Centre, an American think tank’s Forum on Religion and Public Life, were published on Thursday. The analysis, of 197 countries and territories, identifies a sharp rise in religious limits globally and a 6% increase in restrictions in the four years until 2010.  The Guardian UK

Sixteen members of a breakaway Amish community in rural eastern Ohio, including its leader, were convicted of federal hate crimes Thursday for the forcible cutting of Amish men's beards and Amish women's hair.

Sam Mullet Sr. and the 15 followers were found guilty of conspiracy to violate federal hate-crime law in connection with what authorities said were the religiously motivated attacks on several fellow Amish people last year.  CNN