Washington — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton condemned an anti-Islam film that has spurred protests across the Middle East, saying, “this video is disgusting and reprehensible.”
“It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage,” Clinton said in remarks at the start of the U.S.-Morocco Strategic Dialogue in Washington September 13.
But Clinton added that “there is no justification, none at all, for responding to this video with violence. We condemn the violence that has resulted, in the strongest terms. And we greatly appreciate that many Muslims in the United States and around the world have spoken out on this issue.”
Clinton told journalists at the pre-conference briefing that violence has no place in religion and is not the way to honor religion or religious faith. Her remarks follow in the aftermath of protests that began in Cairo, Egypt, on September 11 and have since spread to other nations following the release of a 14-minute anti-Islam video trailer on the Internet.
“Islam, like other religions, respects the fundamental dignity of human beings, and it is a violation of that fundamental dignity to wage attacks on innocents,” Clinton said. “As long as there are those who are willing to shed blood and take innocent life in the name of religion, the name of God, the world will never know a true and lasting peace.”
Clinton also emphasized in her brief remarks that America has always been committed to religious freedom and tolerance since the beginning of the nation. It is a fundamental belief so strong in the American people that it is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights.
“We are home to people of all religions, many of whom came to this country seeking the right to exercise their own religion, including, of course, millions of Muslims,” she added. President Obama in remarks September 12 at the White House said that in the United States there is a mosque in every state in the nation, and more than 1,200 mosques within the borders of the United States, illustrating the strong presence of the Islamic faith.
Specific to the inflammatory film, Clinton said that the United States government had nothing to do with the production of the anti-Islam video and that “we absolutely reject its content and message.”
On September 11 in Libya, extremists attacked the U.S. mission in Benghazi with machine guns, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades after protests over the film began in Cairo. In that attack, four U.S. diplomats, including Ambassador John Christopher Stevens and Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, were killed.
Clinton said that it is “especially wrong for violence to be directed against diplomatic missions. These are places whose very purpose is peaceful, to promote better understanding across countries and cultures.”