Calif. Man Behind Anti-Islam Film That Sparked Global Riots Jailed for a Year

Mark Basseley Youssef, the man behind the controversial anti-Islam video that some say was the fuel to the riots in the Middle East and elsewhere earlier this year, has been jailed for one year by a U.S. District Court Judge in California.

Youssef's sentencing is not related to the video itself, but he admitted to four out of eight violations, including obtaining a fraudulent California driver's license and violating his probation stemming from a 2010 bank fraud conviction.

U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder sentenced the 55-year old movie-maker to one year in prison. He currently remains jailed without bail. Youssef was arrested in September after he went into hiding following the deadly attacks on Western embassies in the Middle East, which caused the deaths of four Americans, including the ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.

His low-budget film, "The Innocence of Muslims", a trailer of which was put on YouTube, was deemed deeply offensive for the way it portrayed Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. The riots that broke out in the Middle East were said to be partially fueled by this movie, with a Pakistani cabinet minister even offering $100,000 for the filmmaker's death.

Youssef has already served most of his 21-month sentence for using more than a dozen aliases and opening about 60 bank accounts to conduct a check fraud scheme, The Associated Press reported, and he was barred from using the Internet for up to five years after his release from prison.

As for the investigation relating to the anti-Muslim film, federal authorities have said that they believe Youssef is indeed responsible for its making, but they haven't yet identified who posted it online.

Back in September, after the release of the film's trailer, Christian watchdog group Open Doors USA warned that the attacks in the Middle East were instigated by Youssef's film, and that it may lead to further marginalization of Christians in the region.

"[The violence] illustrates how hot the fuel is that one spark ignites it so suddenly," Open Doors spokesman Michael Wood said.

He added that "it is the unpredictable momentum that suddenly creates a wave of protests and anger. Many of the Muslim fanatics link the U.S. with Christianity. So that puts believers in these hot spots such as Libya and Egypt directly in the line of fire."

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