English Press Releases
Statement by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
Washington, D.C., September 13, 2012
I want to take a moment to address the video
circulating on the internet that has led to protests in a number of
countries around the world.
It should be clear to all people around the world that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and we absolutely reject its message and its contents. America’s commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. We are the home to people of all religions – including millions of Muslims – and we have the greatest respect for people of faith. To us, to me, this video is disgusting and reprehensible. It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose – to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage and even violence.
But as I said yesterday, there is no justification — none — for responding to this movie with violence. Many Muslims in the United States and around the world have spoken out about this. Violence like this has no place in religion and is no way to honor religion. 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. And as long as there are those willing to shed innocent life in the name of God, the world will never know a true and lasting peace.
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. To attack an embassy is to attack the idea that we can work together to build a better future.
I know it is hard for some people around the world to understand why the United States doesn't just completely shut down this video. I would note that such a thing – in today’s world, with today’s technologies – is impossible. But even if it were possible, our country has a long tradition of free expression, which is protected by the law. Our government does not – and cannot - stop individual citizens from expressing their views, however hateful they might be. I know there are different views around the world about the outer limits of free speech and free expression. But there should be no debate that violence in response to speech is not acceptable. We all – whether we are leaders in government, leaders in civil society, or religious leaders – have to draw the line at violence. And any responsible leader should be standing up now against violence, just as they should be standing up for religious tolerance.
I wish I could say this will be the last time we have to contend with this kind of situation. But unfortunately, that is not the world we live in. There will always be a tiny minority of people who want to peddle this kind of trash. So let us commit to working together not just today but in the future, to stand against violence and stand up for religious tolerance.