U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is condemning recent attacks on U.S. embassies in Libya and Egypt as well as the anti-Islamic film “Innocence of Muslims” that sparked the violence.
On Tuesday, U.S. ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and at least three members of his staff had been killed during protests over a film that mocked that the Prophet Muhammad and was promoted by Terry Jones, a U.S. pastor who had previously sparked deadly riots threatening to burn Qurans.
“Let me state very clearly and I hope it is obvious that the United States government had nothing to do with this video,” Clinton said on Thursday during a meeting with Moroccan leaders at the State Department. “We absolutely reject its content and message. America’s commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation.”
“To us, to me personally, this video is disgusting and repressible,” she continued. “It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose, to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage. But as I said yesterday, 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.”
The secretary went on to explain that many people around the world could not understand why the U.S. could not prevent films like “Innocence of Muslims” from being distributed.
“I would note in today’s world with today’s technologies, that is impossible,” she said. “But even if it were possible, our country does have a long tradition of free expression, which is enshrined in our Constitution and our law. And we do not stop individual citizens from expressing their views, no matter how distasteful they may be.”
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Wednesday had used the death of Stevens to score political points by accusing President Barack Obama of “sympathizing” with the enemy after the U.S. embassy in Libya released a statement condemning the anti-Muslim film.
“It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks,” Romney said.
Watch this video from CNN’s Newsroom, broadcast Sept. 13, 2012.