Anti-Islam film: 'Put an end to people's unrest; embassy protection not enough'

PTI Washington | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on September 26, 2012

The United States has asked countries, witnessing protests over anti-Islam movie, to take necessary steps to put an end to the unrest, resonating US President Barack Obama who earlier said, “it will not be enough to put more guards in front of an embassy’’.

“It’s not enough to simply respond to something that offends you by protecting an embassy; we have to put an end to people stirring up division and stirring up crowds in ways that, frankly, are not just harmful to the United States but ultimately are going to be deeply harmful to these countries,” Deputy National Security Advisor, White House, Ben Rhodes, told reporters hours after US President Barack Obama addressed the UN General Assembly.

“If we are serious about upholding these ideals, it will not be enough to put more guards in front of an embassy or to put out statements of regret and wait for the outrage to pass.

If we are serious about these ideals, we must speak honestly about the deeper causes of the crisis, because we face a choice between the forces that would drive us apart and the hopes that we hold in common,” Obama said in his address to the UNGA in New York.

In his speech, Rhodes said: Obama was responding to both the US commitment to free speech, but also how do nations respond to speech in the world that they live in.

“Because for them to have successful transitions to democracy, they have to demonstrate that they can provide for the protection of diplomatic facilities, they can be a place for deeper trade and investment,” Rhodes said in response to a question.

“He was making a point that in the age of the world we live in today, no matter what prohibitions you might even try to make on free speech, you’re going to have offensive images and material that can get around the world with the click of a button,” Rhodes said.

“So people need to be able to deal with those types of challenges without resorting to violence, without resorting to this pattern of outrage that we’ve seen in recent years when you’ve had things taken as a cause to stir up not just protests but rather to stir up, in some instances, violence,” he said.

In his address to the UN General Assembly, Obama give a very strong message that violence is completely unacceptable as a response to any type of speech; that leaders have an obligation to stand up to violence and extremism; that even as they very much condemn the message of the video that has helped spark protests around the world, they also need to get at the deeper forces that helped fuel this type of unacceptable activity around the world.

And this includes a politics that in some instances has preyed upon division and opened the door to extremism, Rhodes said.

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Published on September 26, 2012
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