Obama tells United Nations it is ‘time to heed the words of Gandhi’, condemns ‘disgusting’ anti-Islam video and insists ‘Muslims have suffered the most at the hands of extremism’
President Barack Obama delivered an extensive denunciation of a ‘crude and disgusting’ anti-Islam video made in California, telling the United Nations that ‘it is time to heed the words of Gandhi’ and declaring: ‘The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.’
Obama strongly condemned the protests that spread across the Middle East and the murder of Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, branding them ‘an assault on America’.
But he stated that the unrest and murderous attacks were the result of the low-budget video, which had ‘sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world’.
He said: ‘I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity. It is an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well – for as the city outside these walls makes clear, we are a country that has welcomed people of every race and religion.
‘We are home to Muslims who worship across our country. We not only respect the freedom of religion – we have laws that protect individuals from being harmed because of how they look or what they believe. We understand why people take offence to this video because millions of our citizens are among them.’
He acknowledged that ‘there are some who ask why we don’t just ban such a video’ but the U.S. constitution protected free speech. ‘Here in the United States, countless publications provoke offence.
‘Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs. Moreover, as President of our country, and Commander-in-Chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so.’