Clinton says U.S. had nothing to do with film that sparked violence

WASHINGTON Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:00am EDT

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers remarks at the State Department in Washington September 12, 2012, on the deaths of U.S. embassy staff in Benghazi. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers remarks at the State Department in Washington September 12, 2012, on the deaths of U.S. embassy staff in Benghazi.

Credit: Reuters/Gary Cameron

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government had nothing to do with a film about the Prophet Mohammad that has triggered anti-American protests in Muslim countries, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday.

The film, apparently produced in the United States, sparked an attack on a U.S. mission in Libya on Tuesday that killed the ambassador and three other Americans. Clips posted on the Internet show an amateurish production portraying the Prophet Mohammad as a womanizer, a homosexual and a child abuser.

"The United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its content and message," Clinton said at the start of talks with senior Moroccan officials in Washington.

"To us, to me personally, this video is disgusting and reprehensible. It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose: to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage."

For many Muslims, any depiction of the Prophet is blasphemous. Caricatures or other characterizations deemed insulting in the past have provoked protests and drawn condemnations from officials, preachers, ordinary Muslims and many Christians in the Middle East.

While distancing the U.S. government from the film, Clinton noted the history of religious tolerance in the United States and its commitment to freedom of speech and said there was no justification for people to respond with violence.

"I know it is hard for some people to understand why the United States cannot or does not just prevent these kinds of reprehensible videos from ever seeing the light of day," she said. "I would note that in today's world, with today's technologies, that is virtually impossible.

"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," she added.

"There are of course different views around the world about the outer limits of free speech and free expression. But there should be no debate about the simple proposition that violence in response to speech is not acceptable," Clinton said.

(Reporting By Arshad Mohammed; Editing by David Brunnstrom)

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Comments (17)
ccharles wrote:
This enviorment is clearly obamas and hillarys doing. Cut the rethoric and Pull our guys out of both countrys, Cut off all diplomatic ties, and cut all aid.

Dont care about the reason, Dont care about the comments afterwards… pull our guys. If these 2 spineless ones wont , then congress should act to cut all ties with both countrys.

Then if they step wrong, then we straighten them out!

Obama can defend his breatheren on his own time.

Sep 14, 2012 7:05am EDT  --  Report as abuse
ccharles, you’re an idiot. Do you have any proof for what you say, or are you, in Fox News fashion, just completely making this crap up?

Sep 14, 2012 7:45am EDT  --  Report as abuse
zd14689 wrote:
The issue is that even though we have freedom of speech in the US that there is a moral and legal limit to it. Endangering the Safety of the US and its citizens, propaganda that is a hate crime etc. should not be subject of freedom of free speech.

The creator of this film, regardless of their religion, nationality, ethnic back ground etc. should be tried as a terrorist. That persons action deliberately caused international violence against the US and its citizens!

I am not defending what has happened in the Middle East and the people responsible have to be dealt with as terrorists; however we also have to send a strong message to the world that we do not tolerate something like this in our territory and the liable ones will be punished. Hiding behind the freedom of speech is an unfortunate part of the US allowing us to have a double standard! We condemn what the Prime Minister of Iran tells others, and he rightfully can answer that is freedom if speech and we don’t like that at all. If we want to lecture others, than we should adhere by the same standards!

Find the responsible for the film and treat them as terrorists! That will send a clear message that the US is not involved and will take the appropriate steps as others should do so too.

IN regard to the calls to pull back our staff from countries like that will in the end just isolate us and show weakness as a great nation!

Sep 14, 2012 7:57am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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