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Obama, Clinton on Freedom of Expression

27 September 2012

This video was produced by the State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs in September 2012. It features Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and President Obama.

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[Secretary Clinton] There should be no debate

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about the simple proposition

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that violence in response to speech and free expression

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is not acceptable.

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We all — whether we are leaders in government,

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leaders in civil society or religious leaders —

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must draw the line at violence.

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And any responsible leader

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should be standing up now and drawing that line.

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But is our religion so weak that statements of disapproval

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will cause us to lose our faith?

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That would be most unfortunate.

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In fact,

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what we have found, in study after study,

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is that the United States is one of the most

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religious countries in the world.

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And yet anybody can believe anything and go anywhere.

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And so there is no contradiction

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between having strong religious beliefs

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and having the freedom to exercise them

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and to speak about them

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and to even have good debates with others.

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[President Obama] Here in the United States,

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countless publications provoke offense.

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Like me,

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the majority of Americans are Christian,

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and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs.

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As president of our country

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and commander-in-chief of our military,

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I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day —

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and I will always defend their right to do so.

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It is time to leave the call of violence

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and the politics of division behind.

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On so many issues,

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we face a choice between the promise of the future,

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or the prisons of the past.

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And we cannot afford to get it wrong.

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We must seize this moment.

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America stands ready to work

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with all who are willing to embrace a better future.

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[TEXT: Humanrights.gov]

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[TEXT: Produced by the U.S. Department of State]

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[TEXT: Select images © AP Images]

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[TEXT: Select images courtesy of Alhurra TV]