HEMET, Calif. — The public face for the anti-Muslim film inflaming the Middle East is not the filmmaker, but an insurance agent and Vietnam War veteran whose unabashed and outspoken hatred of radical Muslims has drawn the attention of civil libertarians, who say he’s a hate monger.
Nakoula, the filmmaker, contacted Klein months ago for advice about the limits of American free speech and asked for help vetting the movie’s script, Klein said in an interview with The Associated Press. As the role dovetailed with Klein’s relentless pursuit of radical Muslims in America, an activity he says he began after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. It took on more meaning in 2007, when his son, then a 27-year-old Army staff sergeant, was seriously injured in Iraq. Matthew Klein, a medic, was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor and a Purple Heart for injuries he suffered in the attack by a suicide bomber, according to the Army Human Resources Command.
He claimed to have visited “every mosque in California” and identified “500 to 750 of these people who are future suicide bombers and murderers.”
“Those are the guys I’m looking for. I’m not interested in mom and pop running a pizza store or running a smoky shop, a hookah shop,” he said.
The Southern Poverty Law Center says they have been tracking Klein for several years and have labeled two of the organizations he is affiliated with as hate groups.
Klein founded Courageous Christians United, which conducts protests outside abortion clinics, Mormon temples and mosques, and started Concerned Citizens for the First Amendment, which preaches against Muslims and publishes volumes of anti-Muslim propaganda that Klein distributes. He also has helped train paramilitary militias at the church of Kaweah near Three Rivers, about an hour southeast of Fresno, to prepare for what they believe is a coming holy war with Muslim sleeper cells, according to the law center.