Thursday, September 20, 2012

Monty Python Actor Denies Allegations of Religious Hate Crimes

Terry Jones in "Life of Brian" 1979
SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Responding to the outrage ignited by the anti-Islamic film "Innocence of Muslims," Egyptian authorities on Tuesday ordered the arrests of Terry Jones and seven Coptic Christians for their alleged involvement in the video's production. The movie's offensive portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad has led to protests across the Middle East and North Africa. At the U.S. Consulate in Libya, the ambassador and several other staff members were killed by well-equipped gunmen during the rioting. Prosecutors in Egypt demanded the suspects be extradited to the Egyptian government for trial. Their statement also indicated that convictions could be punishable by death. Officials in the United States have not responded to the request but seem unlikely to comply. In the United Kingdom, however, British authorities refused to hand over Terry Jones, whom they described as a "national treasure" for his work with the storied comedy team, Monty Python.

Jones has been placed under protective custody in an undisclosed location. He expressed "utter confusion" at accusations of religious hate crimes against Muslims, saying the most excoriating correspondence he receives comes from Christians angry about "Life of Brian," which he directed and starred in.

British officials believe the Egyptian government is gunning for the wrong man.

"Mr. Jones is a famed actor, director and comedian who is also an outspoken political advocate for peace and civil liberties among all cultures," a Parliamentary representative said. "We have assured Egyptian prosecutors that Mr. Jones had absolutely no involvement whatsoever in the atrocious 'Innocence of Muslims,' which he has described as reprehensible and just bad filmmaking."

Excepting Jones' disastrous 1977 production "Jabberwocky," the anti-Islamic movie would seem beneath his artistic standards. Jones was also at a loss to explain why Egyptian prosecutors insisted he was American. Jones is undeniably Welsh.

"I have nothing but sympathy for the Islamic community, which suffered a terrible offense at the hands of 'Innocence of Muslims,'" Jones told the press. "Obviously, as we have seen over the past few years, depicting the Prophet Muhammad in any media is taboo. We've witnessed the violence left in the wake of political cartoons featuring his image, even this week. And that's just poking a stick, I think. But to portray Muhammad as a crude and buffoonish caricature is nothing short of aggressive incitement. This is beyond my capacity and my values as a world citizen. However, I also take personal offense at the ridiculous depictions of me that have been sent by Egyptian prosecutors. The picture I received was of a gaunt American pastor from the South dressed up as Yosemite Sam. I did nothing to warrant such insult, especially since I have no part in this situation in any manner."

The remaining members of Monty Python are also being placed under police protection until the misunderstanding can be resolved.

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