Celebrating 15 years in Anaheim, leaders of St. Mary & St. Verena Coptic Orthodox Church on Sunday say that what they teach is love and respect for others.
That's a striking contrast to what a self-described Coptic Christian filmmaker has allegedly propagated in a movie denigrating Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. Federal authorities have identified Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, of being the key figure behind "Innocence of Muslims," which has ignited mob violence against U.S. embassies across the Middle East.
Leaders of the Coptic orthodox church say their faith is similar to that of Greek and Russian orthodox churches. Church members are calling the film offensive.
"We're very disappointed of the connection between the action of an individual and an entire community," said Father Joseph Boules of St. Mary & St. Verena Coptic Orthodox Church. "This man may very well be a Coptic Christian, but we don't hold the Coptic church responsible for this."
"First of all, we condemn the movie. We don't support it, we don't encourage it, and we condemn all kinds of violence," he added.
Coptic orthodox leaders plan tol join members of the Muslim Public Affairs Council at a news conference Monday in downtown Los Angeles to express their outrage over the violence in the Middle East.