An Israeli filmmaker based in California went into hiding Tuesday after his movie attacking Islam's Prophet Muhammad sparked angry assaults by ultra-conservative Muslims on U.S. missions in Egypt and Libya, where a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed.
Speaking by phone from an undisclosed location, writer and director Sam Bacile remained defiant, saying Islam is a cancer and that the 56-year-old intended his film to be a provocative political statement condemning the religion.
Protesters angered over Bacile's film opened fire on and burned down the U.S. Consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, killing U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others on Tuesday. In Egypt, protesters scaled the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and replaced an American flag with an Islamic banner.
"This is a political movie," said Bacile. "The U.S. lost a lot of money and a lot of people in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but we're fighting with ideas."
Bacile, a California real estate developer who identifies himself as an Israeli Jew, said he believes the movie will help his native land by exposing Islam's flaws to the world.
"Islam is a cancer, period," he said repeatedly, his solemn voice thickly accented.
The two-hour movie, "Innocence of Muslims," cost $5 million to make and was financed with the help of more than 100 Jewish donors, said Bacile, who wrote and directed it.