The amateur 14-minute Southern California-produced anti-Islamic film The Innocence of Muslims besmirching the life of the Prophet Muhammad continues to cause unrest in the Middle East - most recently in Yemen where protesters breached the walls of the US Consulate.
While authorities are investigating the supposed writer/director of the film, "Sam Bacile" - Steven Klein, owner of Wise Insurance Agency in Hemet, says he served as a consultant on the film and has no regrets about the violent outrage the film has caused.
"I have no blood on my hand. I feel no guilt. I feel no remorse. And if I tell the truth and they go out and murder, the guilt and shame is on their head, not me," Klein told KNBC's Wednesday.
But, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported that Klein told the AP "he vowed to help Bacile make the movie but warned him that "you're going to be the next Theo van Gogh." Van Gogh was a Dutch filmmaker killed by a Muslim extremist in 2004 after making a film that was perceived as insulting to Islam. 'We went into this knowing this was probably going to happen,' Klein said."
The Riverside Press-Enterprise also reported extensively on Klein's background and the two groups he started - Courageous Christians United and Concerned Citizens for the First Amendment - which resulted in Klein being on the Southern Poverty Law Center's watch list. The newspaper reported:
But he and other members of Concerned Citizens for the First Amendment distributed leaflets on Islam in high schools across Southern California, including in Temecula, Corona, Murrieta, Norco and Menifee.
Klein said he has written on other issues as well, targeting illegal immigration, gays and lesbians serving in the military and Mormonism. But he said he has not attended or organized demonstrations on those issues.
The Southern Poverty Law Center on Wednesday put out a dossier on Klein. The center quotes him from his Facebook page in 2011 as saying Muslims "are a cancer that WILL attack us and KILL as many as they can to further the Islamic doctrine of Sharia law . . . Beware, there IS a holy war coming."
In January 2011, Klein and another man associated with the group handed leaflets to students at Chaparral High School in Temecula in opposition to an Islamic Center then proposed for construction in the city. The leaflets claimed that Islamists were not entitled to First Amendment rights because their religion does not foster peace, according to an article in The Californian newspaper.
The Southern Poverty Law Center described Klein as a Marine veteran who brags about having led a "hunter-killer" team in Vietnam.
He also is associated with the Church of Kaweah in Central California.
A report the center published earlier this year said Klein believes that California is riddled with Muslim Brotherhood sleeper cells "who are awaiting the trigger date and will begin randomly killing as many of us as they can. I know I'm getting prepared to shoot back," he is quoted as saying.
The Church of Kaweah, which the center lists as a hate group, is described as "a secretive cohort of militant Christian fundamentalists in California who are preparing for war and who believe that churches should avoid government regulation and answer only to God." It is located near the village of Three Rivers in the Sierra Nevada foothills.
The church has its own militia, the center said.
"When he's not busy spreading fear and hate among America's youth, Klein conducts outreach and encourages militancy among Christians from the Middle East and northern Africa," the center said in its online report.
The center said Klein "also conducts drills with the Christian Guardians, a San Francisco-based group headed by Andrew Saqib James, an American-born Pakistani Christian who calls Islam 'a giant crime syndicate' and hopes his group will become 'the most feared militia in the world,'" the center said.
Interestingly, much of the attention on his Courageous Christians United website seems directed at Mormons, as well as Muslims. "As Evangelical Christians, we also desire to convert Mormons and the state of Utah in particular to the real Jesus Christ," they say on their MormonInfo.org website. And yet, having a Mormon president in Mitt Romney is preferable to re-electing President Obama.
"So even though Romney becoming president may bring with it the unintended consequence of building the Mormon kingdom to some extent, intending the greater good of allowing conservative principles to rule may justify a Christian's support for Romney over the liberal secular kingdom and principles of Obama," R. M. Sivulka, President, Courageous Christians United, wrote on their website in January 2012.
On the Courageous Christians United website, they have a list of videos, including this category:
SEXUAL PERVERSION (No Porn Viewable)
The video clips with "Ex-Gay Therapist" Richard Cohen no longer work. But you might remember Richard Cohen from his appearance on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show in December of 2009 and his link to the Uganda "Kill the Gays" bill, which Cohen denied. Here's a brief exchange from that appearance:
COHEN: I believe that, psychologically, there are many causes to this phenomena [homosexuality], which means change is possible. So we are not a political organization. We're a therapeutic, counseling organization who provides help to men and women with unwanted same-sex attraction and their family members. We do not believe in this legislation, Rachel. We believe in tolerance and love for all people.
MADDOW: I understand that you don't think of yourself as a political organization. The reason you've been a subject of discussion on this show, and the reason I wanted to talk to you tonight is because your teaching and your activism have been used for a political purpose, which is to promote this bill.
No blood on the hand there, either, it seems.
(Photo from the Courageous Christians United website)