Steve Klein, who served as a consultant for the Islam-bashing film that sparked the deadly assault on a U.S. Consulate in Libya, is a longtime religious-right activist who has helped train paramilitary militias at a secretive church in California.
Four American citizens, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed by mobs enraged by the depiction of the prophet Muhammad in the film “Innocence of Muslims” produced by Sam Bacile, a California real estate developer.
Klein is a Marine veteran who served in the Vietnam War and is based in Hemet, Calif. He believes that his state is riddled with Muslim Brotherhood sleeper cells “who are awaiting the trigger date and will begin randomly killing as many of us as they can,” according to an article in the Spring 2012 issue of the SPLC Intelligence Report.
Over the years, Klein has worked with a variety of far-right groups, including the Church at Kaweah, which the SPLC lists as a hate group. The Church of Kaweah is a secretive cohort of militant Christian fundamentalists in California who are preparing for war and who believe that churches should avoid government regulation and answer only to God. Kaweah has its own militia, headed by David “Dutch” Johnson (aka Dutch Joens), a longtime antigovernment veteran of the militia movement. Johnson looks forward to the battle that will begin when “Dictator Obongo” institutes martial law. He has called Mexicans savages “who can’t run their own government” and recommended sending guns to drug cartels to “decrease the excess population in Mexico so they don’t come north.”
Klein also conducts drills with the Christian Guardians, a San Francisco-based group headed by Andrew Saqib James, an American-born Pakistani Christian who calls Islam “a giant crime syndicate” and hopes his group will become “the most feared militia in the world.” The Church of Kaweah’s website has advertised joint trainings with the Guardians, describing them as a “unique system of learning how to survive the Muslim Brotherhood as we teach the Christian Morality of Biblical Warfare.”
Klein told the UK’s Daily Mail that Bacile is a pseudonym and that he knows little about the filmmaker but that he is committed to the film, “like the rest of us.” Klein said that he did not feel guilty about Stevens’ death. “It’s not our fault, we told the truth,” he said.
Klein claimed that he and Bacile expected the movie would make Muslims mad, and he said that he also warned Bacile that he could be the “next Theo Van Gogh,” a reference to the Dutch filmmaker who was murdered in 2004 by a Muslim extremist angry about a film Van Gogh made that was perceived as insulting to Islam. Bacile’s film promotes the idea that the prophet Muhammad was a philanderer and a fraud who sanctioned rape and child abuse.