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Is Nakoula really Ahmad Hamdy? It may only be one of many aliases, but in peeling back the onion, it has turned out so far to be Nakoula’s first known alias. It is also, importantly, a wholly Muslim name. It begs the question: Is Nakoula really a Muslim? Shoebat says that people in the Coptic community remember a convert by the name of Ahmad Hamdy who showed up in 2002 claiming he converted after hearing the sermons of the Rev. Zakaria Botros, a well-known Coptic priest from Egypt.

“Is it possible that this man Ahmed Hamdy went into the Coptic community, pretended to be interested in Christianity, and falsely converted?” Shoebat asked. Even assuming this to be true, what motive would a Muslim have to pretend to become a Copt?

Regarding the YouTube video, Shoebat says, “There is a probability, a very high probability, that this was a terrorist set-up. We can’t be 100 percent sure but we can say there is reasonable doubt for the narrative we hear in the media.” In other words, the video may have been a kind of Islamist agitprop designed to incite Muslim anger against the West.

It would not be the first time. There is a history in the Muslim world of manufacturing false images to stir up Muslim outrage. For example, there is the case of Mohammed al-Dura, a Palestinian Arab boy filmed as he was apparently shot by Israeli soldiers. The film became a rallying cry against Israel but later proved to be a hoax. It is only the most prominent example of what has become a small industry known as Pallywood in which phony atrocities are enacted to put Israel in the dock.

The question may be asked, would Muslims go so far as to create images insulting to Mohammed? The events surrounding the dissemination of the infamous cartoons published in a Danish newspaper in September 2005 suggest that they would. Those cartoons went unnoticed until Islamic groups in Denmark circulated a dossier in the Muslim world containing the 12 offending cartoons. Importantly, the dossier included three additional cartoons which were, in fact, far more insulting. One, a picture of a French pig-squealing contestant that the dossier represented as standing for Mohammed, had nothing to do with the prophet when it was originally published. The dossier sparked protests and violence across the Middle East, resulting in a 100 deaths and the bombing of the Danish Embassy in Pakistan.

A clue to the mystery might be sitting in plain view on YouTube. The account of Sam Bacile, the pseudonym Nakoula used to post “Innocence of Muslims,” lists only one “favorite”: a video on Al Nour Party TV (the link was removed Oct. 4, itself an interesting development). The Al Nour Party is a Salafi party in Egypt with an ultra-conservative Islamist ideology that advocates implementing strict Shariah law. Why would Nakoula, who claims to be a Copt who despises Islam to the point where he makes a film deriding Mohammed, list as his only YouTube “favorite” a video of an ultrareligious Islamist party that seeks Shariah law? The video features Al Nour Party spokesman Nader Bakkar, one of the instigators of recent protests in front of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. According to Y3rab News Agency, on Sept. 10:

“Nour Party announced in a statement on the official Facebook page of the party support for participation in the vigil held in front of the U.S. Embassy on the fifth evening (Tuesday) to condemn the film for offending the Prophet (peace be upon him) on American television. The Engineer Jalal, once Secretary-General of the party, said that a number of party leaders are taking part in the vigil, led by Dr. Ahmed Khalil andNader Bakkar [emphasis added], in addition to members of the party from the various provinces.”

What motive would Mr. Bakkar have for using the YouTube video as an excuse for promoting demonstrations against the United States? The answer may be found in the failure of Muslim nations to persuade the Danish government to prosecute the cartoonists. Eleven ambassadors from Muslim countries had requested to meet with the Danish prime minister shortly after the cartoons were published. They were rebuffed. It is part of a larger picture of the Muslim effort to pass anti-blasphemy laws in the West.

The Nour Party said the demonstrations were in support of Wisam Abdul Waris of “Dar Al-Hekma” (“House of Wisdom”), an Egyptian television show. Mr. Bakkar joined a coalition with Mr. Waris to make it illegal in Egypt and around the world to blaspheme Islam. As Mr. Waris said, “The Voice of Wisdom Coalition (I’itilaf Sawt al-Hekma) … will hold accountable everyone who insults Islam locally and internationally.”

The YouTubevideo controversy has sparked an intense debate on free speech in the United States. Some say the U.S. should censor such displays of religious insensitivity. Others argue the country should support the right to express even hateful speech. The Obama administration has been on the defensive, decrying the video as “disgusting,” “reprehensible” and “offensive,” while repeatedly emphasizing that the U.S. government had nothing to do with it.

But if Shoebat is right, and the YouTube video was a project of Islamic extremists, what we are dealing with is not an issue of free speech but rather of Muslim extremists who will stop at nothing to achieve their ends, including blaspheming the prophet Mohammed themselves.

The evidence is circumstantial, yet it makes more sense than the current narrative the media, the White House and Muslim countries are pushing, which is based on the word of a man whose story keeps changing, who has numerous aliases, who at first tried to pass the video off as a Jewish plot, and who reportedly deceived even the actors on the video as to the subject of the film, and who is aknown felon convicted of bank fraud and identity theft.

It’s time for the real investigation to begin.