The man Brazilian police accuse of being the mastermind behind a fiery Molotov cocktail attack in the headquarters of the production company behind the controversial Netflix satirical Christmas special portraying Jesus as gay told Fox News exclusively that the attack was symbolic and justified.
On Christmas Eve, a video of four men throwing the firebombs at the headquarters of YouTube producer Porta dos Fundos in Rio de Janeiro went viral. A second video began to circulate after the attack of three men wearing ninja camps and military clothes reading a manifesto claiming responsibility to the attack.
They called themselves the "Popular Nationalist Insurgency Command of the Brazilian Integralist Family." whose actions were inspired by the Integralist Action, a fascist-inspired Brazilian right-wing movement that was popular before World War II.
The group's leader is believed to be Eduardo Fauzi, 41, who Brazilian police identified from the attack video as he was the only not wearing a mask.
"The act was beautiful and moral and purely reactive to another crime. Their video was, indeed, criminal and gratuitous. You don't play with Jesus Christ´s name," Fauzi told Fox News, adding that they were not intending to harm anyone by their actions. "Vandalizing the image of Jesus the way it was made is equivalent to a declaration of war against the Brazilian people."
Despite an arrest warrant, Fauzi was able to avoid arrest as he and his son and wife, both Russian nationals, fled to Moscow.
There, Fauzi told to journalists that he has asked for asylum, alleging “evident political persecution against me. I'm in a monstrous machine of defamation and destruction of reputations.” Brazilian authorities said they issued a warning to Interpol, effectively pinning the suspect's name on the wanted list.
Fauzi told Fox News said the idea of the attack was one of "virtual violence" with no risk to any person or property. However, the Molotov cocktail caused a huge fire, which was luckily extinguished by a security guard in the building.
In Netflix's Christmas special, "The First Temptation of Christ," Jesus is depicted as returning home on his 30th birthday. The special insinuates Jesus is gay. Mary is also shown as smoking marijuana and claims she was groped by God.
The film sparked massive controversy in the majority Catholic country and showed a growing political polarization between leftist groups and the Brazilian right. Before the Christmas Eve attack, at least seven lawsuits had already been filed against Porta dos Fundos.
Earlier this month, a Brazilian judge ordered Netflix to stop showing the controversial Christmas special. A spokesperson for Netflix told Fox News in a statement at the time that they "strongly support artistic expression" and will be "fighting to defend this important principle, which goes to the heart of great storytelling."
Days later, the president of Brazil's Supreme Court issued an order allowing the streaming service to continue exhibiting the satirical film. He reaffirmed Brazilians' right to free speech.
Porta Dos Fundos refused to comment to Fox News. However, in a previous statement, they said they will continue to "publish our humor sketch every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday in our channels."
They added that they are against "any act of censorship, violence, illegality (and) authoritarianism."
Fauzi said his "heroes" include Syrian Presiden Basha Al Assad and Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Until the December attack, he said, he was formally affiliated with the Social Liberal Party (PSL), which is the party of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
"I am a dissident intellectual, a third-rate nationalist militant, an ultranationalist political position, opposition to both communism and liberal capitalism," he told Fox News.
After the arrest warrant and confirmation of his involvement in the attack, Fauzi was expelled from PSL.
Earlier this month, Fauzi's attorneys declared that he will only return to Brazil if the arrest order for 30 days is revoked. They said they instead filed for bail at the court in Rio de Janeiro.
"I believe that this will work and my client returns to Brazil to answer the charge in freedom," Diego Rossi Moretti, one of his lawyers, told local media. "If it is denied, we will go to the supreme court."
According to local media, prosecutors offered a plea bargain to help in the investigation. His attorneys said they are reviewing the offer.
Meanwhile, Fauzi said that while Brazilian people are "tolerant and cordial," he believes his action may serve as a precedent for other "manifestations" of this type.
"That damn Christmas special was much more abusive than usual," he said. "If it weren't for that point outside the curve, none of this would have ever happened. However, if they persist in doing atheistic preaching and deliberating humiliating Jesus Christ, surely other brave men will rise."
Fox News' Tyler McCarthy contributed to this report.