Editor's note: CNN's Miguel Marquez reports on the investigation of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the man the FBI believes is behind the anti-Islam film that has sparked outrage.
Some time in the summer, a small theater in Los Angeles screened a movie to which hardly anyone came.
It was a clunky film filled with scenes in a desert and in tents. The characters were cartoonish; the dialogue gauche.
The actors who'd responded to a July 2011 casting call thought they were making an adventure film set 2,000 years ago called "Desert Warrior." That's how Backstage magazine and other acting publications described it.
The American-made movie, it turns out, was hardly an innocent desert action flick.
Instead, the movie, backed by hardcore anti-Islam groups in the United States, is a tome on Islam as fraud. In trailers posted on YouTube in July, viewers saw this: scene after scene of the Prophet Mohammed portrayed as a womanizer, buffoon, ruthless killer and child molester.
CNN's Gary Tuchman speaks to members of the Muslim community in Joplin, Missouri after a fire destroyed the city's only mosque.
Anderson Cooper examines the lack of evidence from Newt Gingrich and five other lawmakers calling for an investigation into whether the Muslim Brotherhood is infiltrating the U.S. government.
John Esposito says accusations against Secretary Clinton's aide Huma Abedin indicate a larger problem in the country. Five Republican legislators have asked for an investigation into her ties with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Sen. John McCain took the extraordinary step of speaking out on the Senate floor against fellow Republican lawmaker Rep. Michele Bachmann and four other legislators.
"When anyone, not least a member of Congress, launches specious and degrading attacks against fellow Americans on the basis of nothing more than fear of who they are and ignorance of what they stand for, it defames the spirit of our nation, and we all grow poorer because of it," McCain said.
He was referring to Bachmann's allegations that members of a radical Jihadist group are infiltrating the U.S. government, specifically naming an aide to Secretary Clinton, Huma Abedin.
McCain also stated in his address, "These allegations about Huma, and the report from which they are drawn, are nothing less than an unwarranted and unfounded attack."
Anderson Cooper traces the roots of the report and debunks the evidence. Keeping Them Honest, he also explains the implications of the claims on U.S. foreign policy.
A plaintiff in the Murfreesboro mosque case explains why she's in a legal battle with the Muslim community.
The arrest of Army infantryman Nasser Jason Abdo for his alleged plot to attack Fort Hood personnel instantly brought back the pain, shock and grief of the massacre on that base in November 2009 that left 13 people dead. In an eerie echo of that past attack, Abdo even reportedly purchased weapons and bomb-making material at the same gun store used by accused Fort Hood shooter Major Malik Nadal Hasan. News of this latest plot has reinvigorated a shock wave that continues to reverberate throughout the ranks of the U.S. military.
Why would an American Muslim soldier choose to plan a deadly attack against his fellow soldiers? Was there anything in his background or behavior that would have provided indications of his deadly intentions? And what does this latest arrest mean for the military in addressing issues of violent extremists in its ranks? For the government and its military leadership, a precarious balancing act of addressing security concerns while avoiding witch-hunts and combating discrimination continues to play out.
For the Pentagon, general concerns exist over the so-called “insider threat”, or double agents who may infiltrate the military for nefarious purposes. Screening procedures exist designed to preclude enlistment by individuals with terrorist ties of some kind, but once someone is in the military what happens then?
U.S. authorities had previously investigated Hasan in December 2008 due to his e-mail exchanges with al-Qaeda ideologue Anwar al-Awlaki. In those communications Hasan appeared to be seeking spiritual guidance for a possible attack, asking about killing U.S. soldiers and if that would be justified. Tragically, this exchange didn’t lead to authorities taking action against Hasan until it was too late. In my opinion, a combination of an over-sensitivity to Hasan’s background and a failure on the part of authorities to share vital information allowed him to slip through the cracks.
While the number of cases of violent Islamists among active or former military remains extremely small at around a dozen serious cases, they’ve left a legacy of suspicion and fear of American Muslims in the military.
Editor's note: Watch Part 2 of Drew Griffin's special investigative report about Walid Shoebat Thursday on AC360° beginning at 10pm ET.
Rapid City, South Dakota (CNN) - Walid Shoebat had a blunt message for the roughly 300 South Dakota police officers and sheriff's deputies who gathered to hear him warn about the dangers of Islamic radicalism.
Terrorism and Islam are inseparable, he tells them. All U.S. mosques should be under scrutiny.
"All Islamic organizations in America should be the No. 1 enemy. All of them," he says.
It's a message Shoebat is selling based on his own background as a Palestinian-American convert to conservative Christianity. Born in the West Bank, the son of an American mother, he says he was a Palestinian Liberation Organization terrorist in his youth who helped firebomb an Israeli bank in Bethlehem and spent time in an Israeli jail.
That billing helps him land speaking engagements like a May event in Rapid City - a forum put on by the state Office of Homeland Security, which paid Shoebat $5,000 for the appearance. He's a darling on the church and university lecture circuit, with his speeches, books and video sales bringing in $500,000-plus in 2009, according to tax records.
"Being an ex-terrorist myself is to understand the mindset of a terrorist," Shoebat told CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360."
But CNN reporters in the United States, Israel and the Palestinian territories found no evidence that would support that biography. Neither Shoebat nor his business partner provided any proof of Shoebat's involvement in terrorism, despite repeated requests.
Back in his hometown of Beit Sahour, outside Bethlehem, relatives say they can't understand how Shoebat could turn so roundly on his family and his faith.
"I have never heard anything about Walid being a mujahedeen or a terrorist," said Daood Shoebat, who says he is Walid Shoebat's fourth cousin. "He claims this for his own personal reasons."
Editor's note: CNN's Anderson Cooper reports about assertions by Walid Shoebat, who says he used to be a terrorist.
Related: 'Ex-terrorist' rakes in homeland security bucks
Editor's note: Author Bruce Feiler speaks with Anderson Cooper about the wave of popular uprisings that have swept the Arab world.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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