Toronto man linked to anti-Muslim film fears for family
Published Monday, September 24, 2012 8:23AM EDT
A Toronto man caught in the backlash against an anti-Muslim film says he had nothing to do with movie, which has sparked outrage across the Middle East.
Nader Fawzy has been accused by the Egyptian government of helping produce the film. Another Canadian was also named among those involved in the film. Both men claim they have nothing to do with the movie.
Egypt has issued arrest warrants for both men and Fawzy is afraid that Muslim extremists could try to take matters into their own hands.
Fawzy – a Coptic Christian – told CTV’s Canada AM on Friday that he believes the Egyptian government accused him of being involved in the film in order to target him for his work as a human rights activist.
“I have a long history with the Egyptian government. I am a Coptic activist and I am fighting for human rights for the Coptic in Egypt,” he told CTV’s Canada AM.
“They took the opportunity to put my name on this list. Either they will arrest me or someone will kill me.”
In 2007, Fawzy filed a lawsuit against then-president Hosni Mubarak on behalf of 22 Coptic Christian activists who died in police custody.
The father of three has lived in Canada for 10 years, and says he has only seen a few minutes of the controversial film. He says he has publicly denounced the film, in a statement through the Middle East Christian Association.
Fawzy has already contacted Toronto police with his concerns and said they have promised patrols around his home and have officers check on his family occasionally.
Fawzy said his family in Egypt is concerned for their own safety, but his three daughters in Canada just want to continue with their lives.
“My kids here, they don’t care so much. It is me who is worried about them,” he said.
The film “Innocence of Muslims,” which was shot in California, denounces the Prophet Muhammad. The film has sparked a series of violent protests across the Middle East, including attacks on U.S. consulates.
A peaceful demonstration was held outside the U.S. consulate in Toronto over the weekend.
Liberal MP Jim Karygiannis said it is important that the Canadian government stand up for its citizens.
“Let’s assure this individual that is government is stepping up for him, and looking out for him,” the Toronto-area MP told CTV’s Canada AM.
Rick Ross, the press secretary for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, has said “quiet diplomacy” is often the most effected way to handle these situations.
Nader Fawzy, left, speaks to media alongside Scarborough-Agincourt MP Jim Karygiannis outside No. 42 Division, Toronto Police Services, in Toronto after asking the police for protection on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012. (Aaron Vincent Elkaim / THE CANADIAN PRESS)