Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made clear on Thursday that the U.S. government had nothing to do with an anti-Muslim film she personally finds “disgusting and reprehensible” as protests over it spread to Yemen after assaults on embassy compounds in Egypt and Libya.
"The United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video," Clinton said alongside Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Saad-Eddine Al-Otmani at the State Department. “... We have the greatest respect for people of faith… this video is disgusting and reprehensible. It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose, to denigrate a great religion and to promote rage."
U.S. ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other embassy staff were killed in an attack in Benghazi, during which armed militants raided the embassy Tuesday night, amid protests apparently due to outrage linked to the American video posted online that many Muslims have found offensive. The film’s almost 14-minute trailer, which is still on YouTube, shows people acting as violent Muslims, taking their aggression out on Christians and women.
Clinton stressed that the United States has a history of free expression, and the government does not stop individuals from expressing their views, “no matter how distasteful they may be,” Still, Clinton said, “violence in response to speech is not acceptable."
“There is no justification, none at all, to respond to this video with violence," she said. "We condemn this violence in the strongest terms.”
Protests continued on Thursday outside the U.S. embassy in Cairo as demonstrators demanded an apology from the United States for the video. And protesters in Yemen stormed the U.S. embassy there, setting fire to a building and burning the U.S. flag, raising instead a black banner bearing Islam’s declaration of faith: “There is no God but Allah.”