Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl (AZ) on Wednesday accused the U.S. embassy in Cairo of “apologizing” for anti-American violence because the embassy released a statement condemning an anti-Muslim film.
“It’s like the judge telling the woman who got raped, ‘You asked for it because of the way you dressed.’ OK? That’s the same thing,” he told reporters. “‘Well America, you should be the ones to apologize, you should have known this would happen, you should have done — what I don’t know — but it’s your fault that it happened.’ You know, for a member of our State Department to put out a statement like that, it had to be cleared by somebody. They don’t just do that in the spur of the moment.”
The film, “Innocence of Muslims,” had been recently given Arabic subtitles and promoted by Terry Jones, a U.S. pastor who had previously sparked deadly riots threatening to burn Qurans. It was produced in the U.S., but the maker of the film is a mystery.
The anti-Muslim film has sparked protests around the world, including in Egypt and Libya. Militants stormed the U.S. consulate in Libya on Tuesday, resulting in the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
“The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions,” the U.S. embassy in Cairo said in a statement on Tuesday. “We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.”
The statement was released prior to the protests.
“Senator Kyl’s comments were meant to demonstrate that innocent victims of violence need never apologize to those committing the heinous acts of violence,” a spokesman for the Republican senator later clarified.