But in the days before the protests, Jones made no public mention of the film, called “Innocence of Muslims,” even as he prepared to stage an “International Judge Muhammad Day” on Sept. 11.
Instead, the man who translated the film into Arabic, sent it to Egyptian journalists, promoted it on his website and posted it on social media was an obscure Egyptian-born Coptic Christian who lives near Washington and proudly touts his ties to Jones.
Morris Sadek describes himself as a human rights attorney and president of a small group called the National American Coptic Assembly, based in Chantilly, Va. Sadek says on his website that he is a member of the Egyptian and Washington, D.C. bar associations who has “defended major human rights cases” including the late Coptic Pope Shenouda III, who died in March.
But fellow Copts depict Sadek as a fringe figure and publicity hound whose Islamophobic invectives disrupt Copts’ quest for equal religious rights in Egypt.
“Mr. Sadek is a maverick who belongs to a very narrow extreme current of Coptic activists,” the Washington-based group Coptic Solidarity said in a statement. “He likes to use inflammatory and abrasive language to insult Muslims and Islam. As his actions agitate more the Islamic extremists, some people wonder if he is not in fact working to fulfill their agenda.”
Cynthia Farahat, Coptic Solidarity’s director of advocacy, said Sadek “has done a lot of harmful things for Copts in Egypt.”
“Every single thing he says is used by Islamists to justify terrorism against Copts,” Farahat said.
According to the Egyptian Independent newspaper, Sadek was banned from entering Egypt and had his citizenship revoked in May 2011 because he called for war against the country.
As protests against the anti-Muslim film spread throughout the Middle East and Africa, Palestinian protesters shredded posters of Sadek and Egyptians chanted his name, according to international reports.
While the Egyptian protests appear to have been incited by the anti-Muslim film, the Obama administration is investigating the possibility that al-Qaida plotted the Libyan attack to mark the anniversary of 9/11.
Sadek’s Facebook account and Twitter feed are rife with anti-Islamic sentiments, as is his website, where he is described in one media report as “ignorant” and “crazy.” A YouTube video dated to 2010 shows the 69-year-old wearing a cowboy hat and waving an American flag and gold crucifix while shouting “Islam is evil!” outside the National Press Building in Washington.
A photo on his website shows Sadek with Jones, whom he calls a “Bible hero,” at a small protest outside the White House.